Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.581080
Title: The at-sea behaviour of the Manx shearwater
Author: Dean, Ben
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
Seabirds are vulnerable to a wide range of impacts at sea and function as important indicators of ocean health. A detailed understanding of their movements and distributions at sea, as well as the types of behaviour in which they engage and the extent to which those activities make them vulnerable to different impacts is critical in effective conservation planning. But their elusive lifestyles and mobility have hampered studies of their at-sea behaviour. Using miniature data loggers deployed on Manx shearwaters Puffinus puffinus this thesis explores the movements, distribution and behaviour of a small-medium pelagic, procellariiform seabird during foraging trips at sea. Foraging distributions were most variable during the pre-laying period when females departed the colony to build their egg. Females foraged close to the colony when local resources were adequate, but more typically foraged in distant shelf edge waters. Males returned frequently to the colony during this period and typically foraged close by, but also in shelf edge waters when local resources were poor. During incubation and chick-rearing the foraging movements of birds tracked from up to four colonies showed considerable inter-annual variability, but were largely constrained to the Irish and Celtic Seas and the inshore waters of west Scotland. Birds from each of the colonies foraged in waters local to their own colony, but also in more distant locations, including the productive Western Irish Sea and Western Irish Sea Front where birds from multiple colonies co-foraged, presumably at high densities. At-sea behaviour was organized into three principal activities representing: (1) sustained direct flight, (2) sitting on the sea surface, and (3) foraging, comprising tortuous flight interspersed with periods of immersion and diving in pursuit of prey. Foraging was highly constrained to daylight hours during which birds engaged in bouts of diving separated by periods of flight or rest on the surface. Most dives were up to 6 m deep, lasting up to 13 s, but some much deeper dives (maximum 55.5 m) were also made. During chick-rearing the use of short and long duration trips may allow parents to control provisioning effort and their own body condition. However, reducing parents’ requirement to provision their chick (by supplemental chick feeding) did not appear to alter the at-sea movements and behaviour of parents, suggesting that at-sea behaviour probably is controlled more by foraging conditions and prey distributions than by the nutritional demands of the chick.
Supervisor: Guilford, Tim Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.581080  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Behaviour (zoology) ; Ecology (zoology) ; animal behaviour ; biologging ; foraging ; seabird
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