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Coastal regions of the northern Antarctic Peninsula are key for gentoo populations

Korczak-Abshire, Małgorzata and Hinke, Jefferson T. and Milinevsky, Gennadi and Juáres, Mariana A. and Watters, George M. (2021) Coastal regions of the northern Antarctic Peninsula are key for gentoo populations. Biology Letters, 17 (1). p. 20200708.


Official URL: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsb...


Southern Ocean ecosystems are rapidly changing due to climate variability. An apparent beneficiary of such change in the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is the gentoo penguin Pygoscelis papua, which has increased its population size and expanded its range southward in the last 20 years. To better understand how this species has responded to large-scale changes, we tracked individuals during the non-breeding winter period from five colonies across the latitudinal range of breeding sites in the WAP, including from a recently established colony. Results highlight latitudinal gradients in movement; strong associations with shallow, coastal habitats along the entire Antarctic Peninsula; and movements that are independent of, yet constrained by, sea ice. It is clear that coastal habitats essential to gentoo penguins during the breeding season are similarly critical during winter. Larger movements of birds from northern colonies in the WAP further suggest that leap-frog migration may influence colonization events by facilitating nest-area prospecting and use of new haul-out sites. Our results support efforts to develop a marine protected area around the WAP. Winter habitats used by gentoo penguins outline high priority areas for improving the management of the spatiotemporally concentrated krill (Euphausia superba) fishery that operates in this region during winter.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions:Department of Antarctic Biology
ID Code:1988
Deposited By: dr Malgorzata Korczak-Abshire
Deposited On:29 Jan 2021 09:01
Last Modified:29 Jan 2021 09:01

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