Breeding biology of Arctic terns (Sterna paradisaea) in the Canadian High Arctic
- 229 Downloads
The Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a well-known polar seabird which breeds around the circumpolar Arctic, and which undertakes the longest known annual migration of any organism. Despite its familiarity, there is little information on its breeding biology in the High Arctic, an important baseline against which future studies of climate change impacts on northern wildlife can be compared. We studied the breeding biology of Arctic terns in the Canadian High Arctic during five field seasons, and compared this to breeding biology of terns from more southern parts of its range. Because our field site was beside a productive polynya, we expected that reproductive metrics for terns nesting there would be relatively high. However, mean clutch size (1.7 eggs), mean egg size (40.2 mm × 29.0 mm), mean nest initiation dates (6 July) were similar to Arctic terns breeding elsewhere. With our data, we could not assess the independent effects of predation pressure, poor weather or low food supplies, but two years with low tern reproduction were also years with low adult body mass and low clutch size (indicating poor food supplies), as well as low hatching success and high nest abandonment (possibly due to high predation pressure).
KeywordsArctic Clutch size Polynya Predation Seabird
We are indebted to the many field assistants who helped with this project. K. Kuletz provided unpublished data on trends in Arctic Terns from Alaska, USA, and H. G. Gilchrist provided data from Southampton Island, NU. Financial and logistic support were provided by Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (Northern Contaminants Program), Natural Resources Canada (Polar Continental Shelf Program), University of New Brunswick, and Acadia University. All work was conducted under valid research permits (EC-PNR-11-020, NUN-SCI-09-01, WL 2010-042). Finally, we thank the anonymous referees who provided insightful reviews of this manuscript.
- ACIA (2005) Arctic climate impact assessment scientific report. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Agius SM (2008) Can patterns of energetic condition explain differences in the productivity of arctic and common terns at Petit Manan Island, Maine? Dissertation, University of MaineGoogle Scholar
- Arctic Council (2009) Arctic marine shipping assessment 2009 report. http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/detect/documents/AMSA_2009_Report_2nd_print.pdf. Accessed Feb 2016.
- Avery MI, Suddaby D, Ellis PM, Sim IMW (1992) Exceptionally low body-weights of arctic terns Sterna paradisaea on Shetland. Ibis 134:87–88Google Scholar
- Barrett RT, Lorentsen S-H, Anker-Nilssen T (2006) The status of breeding seabirds in mainland Norway. Atlantic Seabirds 8:97–126Google Scholar
- Becker PH, Specht R (1991) Body mass fluctuations and mortality in common tern, Sterna hirundo, chicks dependent on weather and tide in the Wadden Sea. Ardea 79:45–55Google Scholar
- Bengtson SA (1971) Breeding success of the arctic tern Sterna paradisaea (Pontoppidan) in the Kongsfjord area, Spitsbergen in 1967. Norw. J Zool 19:77–82Google Scholar
- Black AL (2006) Foraging area characteristics of arctic terns (Sterna paradisaea) and common terns (Sterna hirundo) breeding on Machias Seal Island. Dissertation, University of New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
- Boekelheide RJ (1980) Arctic terns: breeding ecology and sea-ice relationships on an arctic barrier island. Disseration, University of CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
- Cairns DK (1987) Seabirds as indicators of marine food supplies. Biol Oceanogr 5:261–272Google Scholar
- CBIRD (2014) Final minutes of circumpolar seabird expert group meeting (CBIRD). Spitzbergen Funken, Longyearbyen. 3 April 2014Google Scholar
- Drury WH (1960) Breeding activities of long-tailed jaeger, herring gull and arctic tern on Bylot Island, Northwest Territories, Canada. Bird-Banding 31:63–79Google Scholar
- Egevang C (2010) Migration and breeding biology of arctic terns in Greenland. Dissertation, Aarhus UniversityGoogle Scholar
- Egevang C, Stenhouse IJ (2007) Field report from Sand Island, Northeast Greenland-2007. Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. http://www.natur.gl/fileadmin/user_upload/Publikationer/feltrapporter/Fieldwork_Sand_Island_2007_1.pdf. Accessed Feb 2016.
- Elkund CR (1944) Nesting notes on the arctic tern. Auk 61:648Google Scholar
- Gaston AJ, Bertram DF, Boyne AW, Chardine JW, Davoren G, Diamond AW, Hedd A, Montevecchi WA, Hipfner JM, Lemon MJ, Mallory ML, Rail JF, Robertson GJ (2009a) Changes in Canadian seabird populations and ecology since 1970 in relation to changes in oceanography and food webs. Environ Rev 17:267–286Google Scholar
- Gaston AJ, Gilchrist HG, Mallory ML, Smith PA (2009b) Changes in seasonal events, peak food availability, and consequent breeding adjustment in a marine bird: a case of progressive mismatching. Condor 111:111–119Google Scholar
- Geale J (1971) Birds of Resolute, Cornwallis Island, NWT. Can Field Nat 85:53–59Google Scholar
- GraphPad Software Inc (2009) Instat. GraphPad Software Inc, La JollaGoogle Scholar
- Hatch JJ (2002) Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea). In: Poole A (ed) The birds of North America online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca. http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/707. Accessed Feb 2016.
- Hussell DJT, Holroyd GL (1974) Birds of the Truelove Lowland and adjacent areas of northeastern Devon Island, NWT. Can Field Nat 88:197–212Google Scholar
- Lemmetyinen R (1972) Growth and mortality in the chicks of arctic terns in the Kongsfjord area, Spitsbergen in 1970. Ornis Fenn 49:45–51Google Scholar
- Lemmetyinen R (1973a) Clutch size and timing of breeding in the arctic tern in the Finnish archipelago. Ornis Fenn 50:18–26Google Scholar
- Lemmetyinen R (1973b) Breeding success in Sterna paradisaea and Sterna hirundo in Southern Finland. Ann Zool Fenn 10:526–535Google Scholar
- Monaghan P, Uttley J, Burns MD (1992) Effect of changes in food availability on reproductive effort in arctic terns Sterna paradisaea. Ardea 80:71–81Google Scholar
- R Development Core Team (2011) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. URL http://www.R-project.org
- StatSoft, Inc. (2015) Statistica 12. http://www.statsoft.com/Products/STATISTICA-Features/version-12. Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
- Vigfusdottir F (2012) Drivers of productivity in a subarctic seabird: Arctic Terns in Iceland. PhD thesis. University of East Anglia, Norwich, UKGoogle Scholar
- Wanless S, Frederiksen M, Walton J, Harris MP (2009) Long-term changes in breeding phenology at two seabird colonies in the western North Sea. Ibis 151:274–285Google Scholar
- Węsławski JM, Kwaśniewski S, Stempniewicz L, Błachowiak-Samołyk K (2006) Biodiversity and energy transfer to top trophic levels in two contrasting Arctic fjords. Polish. Polar Res 27:259–278Google Scholar
- Wojczulanis-Jakubas K, Jakubas D, Stempniewicz L (2008) Avifauna of Hornsund area, SW Spitsbergen: present state and recent changes. Polish. Polar Res 29:187–197Google Scholar