A novel foraging strategy in gentoo penguins breeding at sub-Antarctic Marion Island
- 508 Downloads
To help meet the high energy demands of raising the young, some seabirds alternate between short, frequent foraging trips to maximize food delivery to the young, and infrequent, long foraging trips that serve towards self-maintenance. Our study is the first to investigate the foraging behaviour of gentoo penguins at Marion Island, which we did through a combined use of GPS loggers and time-depth recorders. The shallow shelf between Marion and Prince Edward Islands proved to be an important foraging area, and penguins exploited this area using a novel foraging strategy. Penguins undertook alternating trips of relatively short and long durations. Short trips, performed in the afternoon, were likely associated with self-maintenance as they were followed by roosting on the beach overnight and not returning to the colony. They were followed by longer and more distant foraging trips, after which birds returned to the colony to provision chicks. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate alternating trip lengths in gentoo penguins and the first to associate short trips with self-maintenance in seabirds. We suggest that due to the close proximity of a predictable foraging area for these penguins at Marion Island, there is minimal energetic cost to return to land after self-provisioning. Hence, unlike other seabirds that feed at greater distances from their breeding colonies, gentoo penguins are afforded the opportunity for short self-maintenance trips. Finally, we argue that these birds may be using this novel strategy due to sub-optimal feeding conditions resulting from environmental change.
KeywordsGlobal Position System Gentoo Penguin Trip Duration Dive Depth Prince Edward Island
We thank all the field personnel who assisted with the deployment and retrieval of instruments, with special mention of Vonica Perold, Geneveive Moroke, Alexis Osborne and Zuko Nkomo. Research on Marion Island is made possible through the logistical support from the Department of Environmental Affairs and financial support from the South African National Antarctic Programme. We are most grateful for funding received from the National Research Foundation (South Africa). RRR was supported by a National Research Foundation SANCOR post-doctoral fellowship (Grant Number 94916).
Compliance with ethical standards
Funding for this project was provided by the South African National Antarctic Programme, National Research Foundation (1. Grant number: SNA14073082526 awarded to Dr Pierre Pistorius; 2. Grant number SNA2005060800001 awarded to Dr Rob Crawford).
All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Permit number A14-SCI-ZOO-012) and supported by the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Branch Oceans and Coasts, the management authority of South Africa’s marine and coastal environment.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Ansorge IJ, Durgadoo JV, Pakhomov EA (2009) Dynamics of physical and biological systems of the Prince Edward Islands in a changing climate. Pap Proc R Soc Tasmania 143:15–18Google Scholar
- Bannasch R, Wilson RP, Culik B (1994) Hydrodynamic aspects of design and attachment of a back-mounted device in penguins. J Exp Biol 194:83–96Google Scholar
- Birdlife International (2016) Pygoscelis papua. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22697755/0. Accessed 09 Dec 2016
- Bost C-A, Jouventin P (1990) Evolutionary ecology of gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua). In: Davis LS, Darby JT (eds) Penguin biology. Academic Press Inc, San Diego, pp 85–112Google Scholar
- Carpenter-Kling T (2016) Foraging ecology of the gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua, at Marion Island. Dissertation. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityGoogle Scholar
- Crawford RJM, Cooper J, Dyer BM, Wolfaardt AC, Tshingana D, Spencer K, Petersen SL, Nel JL, Keith DG, Holness CL, Hansie B, Greyling MD, Du Toit M (2003) Population, breeding, diet and conservation of the Crozet shag Phalacrocorax [atriceps] melanogenis at Marion Island, 1994/95-2002/2003. Afr J Mar Sci 25:537–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dewitt HH, Heemstra PC, Gon O (1990) Nototheniidae. In: Gon O, Heemstra PC (eds) Fishes of the Southern Ocean. J. L. B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown, pp 279–331Google Scholar
- Kranstauber B, Smolla M (2016) move: Visualizing and analyzing animal track data. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=move
- Luque SP (2007) diveMove: dive analysis in R. R News 7:8–14Google Scholar
- Lynch HJ (2013) The gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua). In: García Borboroglu P, Boersma PD (eds) Penguins: natural history and conservation. University of Washington Press, Washington, pp 79–88Google Scholar
- Lyver PO, MacLeod CJ, Ballard G, Karl BJ, Barton KJ, Adams J, Ainley DG, Wilson PR (2011) Intra-seasonal variation in foraging behavior among Adélie penguins (Pygocelis adeliae) breeding at Cape Hallett, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Polar Biol 34:49–67. doi: 10.1007/s00300-010-0858-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Orians GH, Pearson NE (1979) On the theory of central place foraging. In: Horn DJ, Mitchell RD, Stairs GR (eds) Analysis of ecological systems. Ohio State University Press, Colombus, pp 154–177Google Scholar
- R Core Team (2016) R: a language and environment for statistical computingGoogle Scholar
- Stephens DW, Krebs JR (1986) Foraging theory. Princeton University Press, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
- Sumner MD (2015) trip: tools for the analysis of animal track data. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=trip
- Taylor SS, Leonard ML, Boness DJ, Majluf P (2002) Foraging by Humboldt penguins (Speniscus humboldti) during the chick-rearing period: general patterns, sex differences, and recommendations to reduce incidental catches in fishing nets. Can J Zool 80:700–707. doi: 10.1139/z02-046 CrossRefGoogle Scholar