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    Rishworth, Gavin M. Tremblay, Yann Green, David B. Pistorius, Pierre A. and Backwell, Patricia 2014. An automated approach towards measuring time-activity budgets in colonial seabirds. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 5, Issue. 9, p. 854.

    Davies, RD Wanless, S Lewis, S and Hamer, KC 2013. Density-dependent foraging and colony growth in a pelagic seabird species under varying environmental conditions. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 485, Issue. , p. 287.

    Certain, G Masse, J Van Canneyt, O Petitgas, P Doremus, G Santos, MB and Ridoux, V 2011. Investigating the coupling between small pelagic fish and marine top predators using data collected from ecosystem-based surveys. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 422, Issue. , p. 23.

    Hamer, K. C. Humphreys, E. M. Magalhães, M. C. Garthe, S. Hennicke, J. Peters, G. Grémillet, D. Skov, H. and Wanless, S. 2009. Fine-scale foraging behaviour of a medium-ranging marine predator. Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol. 78, Issue. 4, p. 880.

  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: July 2009

16 - Use of gannets to monitor prey availability in the northeast Atlantic Ocean: colony size, diet and foraging behaviour

    • By K. C. Hamer, Earth Biosphere Institute and School of Biology, Ecology and Evolution Group, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK, S. Lewis, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Banchory Research Station, Hill of Brathens, Banchory AB31 4BW, UK, S. Wanless, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Banchory Research Station, Hill of Brathens, Banchory AB31 4BW, UK, R. A. Phillips, British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK, T. N. Sherratt, Department of Biology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottowa, Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada, E. M. Humphreys, Earth Biosphere Institute and School of Biology, Ecology and Evolution Group, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK, J. Hennicke, Zoological Institute and Museum, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, D-20146 Germany, S. Garthe, Centre for Research and Technology Westkuste, University of Kiel Hafentörn, D-25761 Büsum, Germany
  • Edited by I. L. Boyd, University of St Andrews, Scotland, S. Wanless, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK
  • C. J. Camphuysen, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • pp 236-248

Large seabirds such as northern gannets Morus bassanus have very flexible time–activity budgets; this means that changes in variables such as foraging-trip duration could provide a rapid indicator of changes in food supply, an indicator that could not be obtained from smaller species. Moreover, larger birds often have longer foraging ranges, giving them the potential to integrate information about changes in food availability over large areas of ocean. There is insufficient information on temporal variation in fish stocks exploited by far-ranging species to determine how the birds' foraging ecology varies with prey abundance, but comparing colonies of different size potentially presents an opportunity to examine empirically how foraging ecology varies in relation to prey availability. For gannets in Britain and Ireland, there were major differences between colonies in foraging and food-provisioning behaviour, but the relationship between trip duration and foraging range was remarkably constant. Moreover, there was a strong relationship between trip duration and the square root of colony size, which was very similar within colonies between years and between colonies within a single year. This relationship could provide a powerful tool for gauging the importance of changes in trip duration in terms of changes in per-capita prey availability. Over 4 years, annual variation in diet at one colony to some extent reflected variation in trip durations and foraging locations, although one year was anomalous and a combination of trip duration and diet provided a much more complete picture than either did on their own.

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