Linking foraging and breeding strategies in tropical seabirds

Soanes, LM, Green, JA ORCID: 0000-0001-8692-0163, Bolton, M, Milligan, G, Mukhida, F and Halsey, LG
(2021) Linking foraging and breeding strategies in tropical seabirds. JOURNAL OF AVIAN BIOLOGY, 52 (7).

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<jats:p>The archetypal foraging behaviour of tropical seabirds is generally accepted to differ from that of their temperate and polar breeding counterparts, with the former exhibiting less predictable foraging behaviour associated with the less predictable prey of the tropical marine environment. Similarly, temperate and polar species have predictable, annual breeding seasons, enabling them to profit during periods of the year when prey availability is highest, while tropical seabird species exhibit considerable variability in their breeding strategies. Until now, the reasons for such variation in breeding strategies between tropical seabirds are yet to be investigated. We hypothesise that while some tropical species breed asynchronously in response to unpredictable fluctuations in prey availability, others adopt a seasonal breeding strategy for the same reasons that temperate and polar species do. Consequently, the predictability of seabird foraging behaviour in the tropics may be related to breeding strategy, with populations that breed seasonally exhibiting more predictable foraging behaviour than those that breed aseasonally. To test these predictions, we used GPS tracking to examine the foraging behaviour of two closely related tropical seabird species that colonise the same island yet exhibit markedly different breeding strategies: the asynchronously breeding brown booby <jats:italic>Sula leucogaster</jats:italic> and the seasonal breeding masked booby <jats:italic>Sula dactylatra</jats:italic>. We obtained tracks for 251 birds over five years. We found that brown boobies forage less predictably than masked boobies, indicated by larger core foraging areas, lower levels of foraging area overlap between individuals and exhibit more variability between breeding periods. Our results challenge the view that the foraging behaviour of tropical seabirds is always less predictable than that of seabirds breeding in temperate and polar regions and highlight the considerable variability in the breeding and foraging strategies adopted by tropical seabirds which demand further exploration.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: brown booby, energy flow, masked booby, prey predictability, temperate seabirds
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2021 15:56
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2023 02:38
DOI: 10.1111/jav.02670
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