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A 1000-year record of Adélie penguin diets in the southern Ross Sea

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2003

MICHAEL POLITO
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina, Department of Biological Sciences, Wilmington, NC 28403, USA
STEVEN D. EMSLIE
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina, Department of Biological Sciences, Wilmington, NC 28403, USA
WILLIAM WALKER
Affiliation:
National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, USA

Abstract

Non-krill prey remains were recovered from ornithogenic sediments at three active Adélie penguin colonies on Ross Island, to assess long-term dietary trends in this species. Radiocarbon dates place the age of these deposits from a maximum of 947 years ago to the present. We identified 12 taxa of fish and two of squid with the Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarcticum) as the most abundant prey species represented at all sites. In addition, silverfish have decreased in importance in Adélie penguin diet over the past 600 years, perhaps in response to climate change since the onset of the Little Ice Age, though it remains much more abundant in current penguin diet in the Ross Sea than in the Antarctic Peninsula. Other prey taxa reflect the diversity of prey selection by Adélie penguins in Antarctica.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Antarctic Science Ltd 2002

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