Mechanisms of Olfactory Foraging by Antarctic Procelliiform Seabirds

  • Gabrielle A. Nevitt


Procellariiform or „tube-nose“ seabirds - the petrels, albatrosses and shearwaters -have been a curiosity to sailors and biologists alike for centuries. Their typical life history is somewhat unusual among birds: most procellariiform seabirds spend nearly all of their lives in flight over the ocean and come to shore only for a few months each year to breed. Procellariiform seabirds share common adaptations for this lifestyle. Many species have extremely efficient flight styles, and an excellent sense of smell. These abilities aid them in locating patchily distributed prey. In addition, these birds tend to be long-lived, highly philopatric, and seem to have a sophisticated spatial knowledge of their foraging habitat (reviewed by Warham, 1996). With the application of satellite telemetry to studies of the foraging ecology of many members of this order, it is now well established that many species routinely forage over distances ranging from hundreds to thousands of kilometers (reviewed by Weimerskirch, 1998). Understanding how these birds are able to accomplish this task has been a primary focus of investigation in my laboratory for the last five years.


Southern Ocean Dimethyl Sulfide Antarctic Krill Satellite Telemetry Odor Plume 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabrielle A. Nevitt
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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