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Individual variation in migratory movements of chinstrap penguins leads to widespread occupancy of ice-free winter habitats over the continental shelf and deep ocean basins of the Southern Ocean

Hinke, Jefferson T. and Santos, Maria M. and Korczak-Abshire, Małgorzata and Milinevsky, Gennadi and Watters, George M. (2019) Individual variation in migratory movements of chinstrap penguins leads to widespread occupancy of ice-free winter habitats over the continental shelf and deep ocean basins of the Southern Ocean. PLoS ONE, 14 (12). e0226207.

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Abstract

A goal of tracking migratory animals is to characterize the habitats they use and to interpret population processes with respect to conditions experienced en route to, and within, overwintering areas. For migratory seabirds with broad breeding ranges, inferring population-level effects of environmental conditions that are experienced during migratory periods would benefit by directly comparing how birds from different breeding aggregations disperse, characterizing the physical conditions of areas they use, and determining whether they occupy shared foraging areas. We therefore tracked 41 adult and juvenile chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica) from three breeding locations in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region during the austral winter of 2017. The satellite tracking data revealed overlap of individuals over continental shelf areas during autumn months (MarMay), shared outbound corridors that track the southern Antarctic circumpolar current front, followed by occupancy of progressively colder, deeper, and ice-free waters that spanned the entire western hemisphere south of the Polar Front. Despite broadly similar physical environments used by individuals from different colonies, the proportion of birds from each colony that remained within 500km of their colony was positively correlated with their local population trends. This suggests that local migration strategies near the Antarctic Peninsula may benefit breeding populations. However, the magnitude of intercolony and intra-colony overlap was generally low given the broad scale of habitats occupied. High individual variation in winter movements suggests that habitat selection among chinstrap penguins is more opportunistic, without clear colony-specific preference for fine-scale foraging hotspots. Mixing of individuals from multiple colonies across broad regions of the Southern Ocean would expose chinstrap penguins from the Antarctic Peninsula to a shared environmental experience that helps explain the regional decline in their abundance.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions:Department of Antarctic Biology
ID Code:1798
Deposited By: dr Malgorzata Korczak-Abshire
Deposited On:18 Dec 2019 09:53
Last Modified:18 Dec 2019 09:53

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