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Philip L Richardson, Ewan D Wakefield, Richard A Phillips
Background: Albatrosses and other large seabirds use dynamic soaring to gain sufficient energy from the wind to travel large distances rapidly and with little apparent effort. The recent development of miniature bird-borne tracking devices now makes it possible to explore the physical and biological implications of this means of locomotion in detail. Here we use GPS tracking and concurrent reanalyzed wind speed data to model the flight performance of wandering albatrosses Diomedea exulans soaring over the Southern Ocean...
2018: Movement Ecology
Lisa Ito, Takayuki Omori, Minoru Yoneda, Toru Yamaguchi, Ryuta Kobayashi, Yoshio Takahashi
The sediments of Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, consist of bioclastic materials, including foraminifera and coral debris. The sedimentary depth profiles of elements showed that various elements including zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) were enriched in the upper layers of the islands of Majuro Atoll. Carbon-14 dating revealed that the sedimentation of the upper layer was completed before 1670 and 542 cal BP in Laura and Calalen, respectively. The enriched elements could be categorized by their origins: (a) terrestrial elements transported as dust (aluminum (Al) and rare earth elements (REEs)); (b) anthropogenic elements (Zn and Cu); and (c) elements supplied by seabirds (phosphorus (P))...
March 13, 2018: Chemosphere
J K Pinnegar
The damselfish Chromis chromis is typically the most abundant fish species in the rocky littoral environment of the Mediterranean Sea, where it feeds in huge shoals on incoming zooplankton and rests near the seabed each night. Research has shown that large populations of C. chromis play a fundamental role by transferring carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus directly from the pelagic system to the littoral in the form of solid and liquid wastes and therefore that this species acts as a vital conduit for nutrients...
March 2018: Journal of Fish Biology
Rosanne J Michielsen, Judy Shamoun-Baranes, John R Parsons, Michiel H S Kraak
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are present in almost all environments due to their high bioaccumulation potential. Especially species that adapted to human activities, like gulls, might be exposed to harmful concentrations of these chemicals. The nature and degree of the exposure to POPs greatly vary between individual gulls, due to their diverse foraging behavior and specialization in certain foraging tactics. Therefore, in order clarify the effect of POP-contaminated areas on gull populations, it is important to identify the sources of POP contamination in individual gulls...
March 13, 2018: Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Rune Dietz, Anders Mosbech, Janne Flora, Igor Eulaers
Despite the remoteness of the North Water, Northwest Greenland, the local Inughuit population is affected by global anthropogenic pollution and climate change. Using a cross-disciplinary approach combining Mercury (Hg) analysis, catch information, and historical and anthropological perspectives, this article elucidates how the traditional diet is compromised by Hg pollution originating from lower latitudes. In a new approach we here show how the Inughuits in Avanersuaq are subject to high Hg exposure from the hunted traditional food, consisting of mainly marine seabirds and mammals...
March 7, 2018: Ambio
Anders Mosbech, Kasper Lambert Johansen, Thomas A Davidson, Martin Appelt, Bjarne Grønnow, Christine Cuyler, Peter Lyngs, Janne Flora
The little auk is the most numerous seabird in the North Atlantic and its most important breeding area is the eastern shores of the North Water polynya. Here, a population of an estimated 33 million pairs breeds in huge colonies and significantly shapes the ecosystem. Archaeological remains in the colonies document that the little auk has been harvested over millennia. Anthropological research discloses how the little auk has a role both as social engineer and as a significant resource for the Inughuit today...
March 7, 2018: Ambio
Thomas A Davidson, Sebastian Wetterich, Kasper L Johansen, Bjarne Grønnow, Torben Windirsch, Erik Jeppesen, Jari Syväranta, Jesper Olsen, Ivan González-Bergonzoni, Astrid Strunk, Nicolaj K Larsen, Hanno Meyer, Jens Søndergaard, Rune Dietz, Igor Eulears, Anders Mosbech
The North Water (NOW) polynya is one of the most productive marine areas of the Arctic and an important breeding area for millions of seabirds. There is, however, little information on the dynamics of the polynya or the bird populations over the long term. Here, we used sediment archives from a lake and peat deposits along the Greenland coast of the NOW polynya to track long-term patterns in the dynamics of the seabird populations. Radiocarbon dates show that the thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia) and the common eider (Somateria mollissima) have been present for at least 5500 cal...
March 7, 2018: Ambio
Marina Renedo, David Amouroux, Bastien Duval, Alice Carravieri, Emmanuel Tessier, Julien Pierre Gilbert Barre, Sylvain Berail, Zoyne Pedrero, Yves Cherel, Paco Bustamante
Blood and feathers are the two most targeted avian tissues for environmental biomonitoring studies, with mercury (Hg) concentration in blood and body feathers reflecting short and long-term Hg exposure, respectively. In this work, we investigated how Hg isotopic composition (e.g. δ202 Hg and Δ199 Hg) of blood and feathers from either seabird chicks (skuas, n=40) or adults (penguins, n=62) can accurately provide information on exposure to Hg in marine ecosystems. Our results indicate a strong correlation between blood and feather Hg isotopic values for skua chicks, with similar δ202 Hg and Δ199 Hg values in the two tissues (mean difference: -0...
March 8, 2018: Environmental Science & Technology
Alex Borowicz, Philip McDowall, Casey Youngflesh, Thomas Sayre-McCord, Gemma Clucas, Rachael Herman, Steven Forrest, Melissa Rider, Mathew Schwaller, Tom Hart, Stéphanie Jenouvrier, Michael J Polito, Hanumant Singh, Heather J Lynch
Despite concerted international effort to track and interpret shifts in the abundance and distribution of Adélie penguins, large populations continue to be identified. Here we report on a major hotspot of Adélie penguin abundance identified in the Danger Islands off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). We present the first complete census of Pygoscelis spp. penguins in the Danger Islands, estimated from a multi-modal survey consisting of direct ground counts and computer-automated counts of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery...
March 2, 2018: Scientific Reports
Ilse Corkery, Ben D Bell, Nicola J Nelson
A major focus in zoology is to understand the phenotypic responses of animals to environmental variation. This is particularly important when dealing with ectotherms in a thermally heterogenous environment. We measured body temperatures of a free-ranging, medium sized temperate reptile, the tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus, to investigate its thermal opportunities and the degree to which the animal actively regulates its body temperature. We found high variation in body temperature between individuals, but this variation could not be attributed to sex or body size...
February 7, 2018: Zoology: Analysis of Complex Systems, ZACS
Kevin D Lafferty, John P McLaughlin, Daniel S Gruner, Taylor A Bogar, An Bui, Jasmine N Childress, Magaly Espinoza, Elizabeth S Forbes, Cora A Johnston, Maggie Klope, Ana Miller-Ter Kuile, Michelle Lee, Katherine A Plummer, David A Weber, Ronald T Young, Hillary S Young
The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, appears to have been extirpated from Palmyra Atoll following rat eradication. Anecdotal biting reports, collection records, and regular captures in black-light traps showed the species was present before rat eradication. Since then, there have been no biting reports and no captures over 2 years of extensive trapping (black-light and scent traps). By contrast, the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, was abundant before and after rat eradication. We hypothesize that mammals were a substantial and preferred blood meal for Aedes , whereas Culex feeds mostly on seabirds...
February 2018: Biology Letters
Erick González-Medina, José Alfredo Castillo-Guerrero, Sharon Zinah Herzka, Guillermo Fernández
Understanding the role of diet in the physiological condition of adults during reproduction and hence its effect on reproductive performance is fundamental to understand reproductive strategies in long-lived animals. In birds, little is known about the influence of the quality of food consumed at the beginning of the reproductive period and its short-term effects on reproductive performance. To assess the role of diet in the physiological condition of female blue-footed booby, Sula nebouxii (BFBO), during reproduction we evaluated whether individual differences in diet (assessed by using δ13C and δ15N values of whole blood from female birds and muscle tissue of the principal prey species) prior to egg laying and during incubation influenced their lipid metabolic profile (measured as triglyceride levels and C:N ratio) and their reproductive performance (defined by laying date, clutch size and hatching success)...
2018: PloS One
Tyler O Gagne, K David Hyrenbach, Molly E Hagemann, Kyle S Van Houtan
Pelagic ecosystems are dynamic ocean regions whose immense natural capital is affected by climate change, pollution, and commercial fisheries. Trophic level-based indicators derived from fishery catch data may reveal the food web status of these systems, but the utility of these metrics has been debated because of targeting bias in fisheries catch. We analyze a unique, fishery-independent data set of North Pacific seabird tissues to inform ecosystem trends over 13 decades (1890s to 2010s). Trophic position declined broadly in five of eight species sampled, indicating a long-term shift from higher-trophic level to lower-trophic level prey...
February 2018: Science Advances
Andrew Turner
Samples of plastic collected from two beaches in southwest England (n = 185) have been analysed by XRF spectrometry for elements that are hazardous or restricted in synthetic polymers (namely, As, Ba, Br, Cd, Cr, Hg, Pb, Sb and Se). Overall, one or more restricted element was detected in 151 samples, with 15 cases exhibiting non-compliance with respect to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. Twelve plastics that were RoHS-non-compliant were subsequently processed into microplastic-sized fragments and subjected to an avian physiologically-based extraction test (PBET) that simulates the chemical conditions in the gizzard-proventriculus of the northern fulmar...
February 15, 2018: Environmental Pollution
S Squadrone, M C Abete, P Brizio, D Pessani, L Favaro
Bird feathers have been proven to be reliable indicators of metal exposure originating from contaminated food and polluted environments. The concentrations of 15 essential and non-essential metals were investigated in African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) feathers from a Northwestern Italian zoological facility. These birds are exclusively fed with herring from the northeast Atlantic Ocean. Certain elements, such as Hg and Cd, reflected the bioaccumulation phenomena that occur through the marine food chain...
February 15, 2018: Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Gregory T Taylor, Joshua T Ackerman, Scott A Shaffer
Egg turning behavior is an important determinant of egg hatchability, but it remains relatively understudied. Here, we examined egg turning rates and egg temperatures in Forster's terns (Sterna forsteri). We used artificial eggs containing a data logger with a 3-D accelerometer, a magnetometer, and a temperature thermistor to monitor parental incubation behavior of 131 tern nests. Overall, adults turned their eggs an average (±SD) of 3.8 ± 0.8 turns h-1, which is nearly two times higher than that of other seabirds...
2018: PloS One
Libin Wu, Xiaodong Liu, Yunting Fang, Shengjie Hou, Liqiang Xu, Xueying Wang, Pingqing Fu
The nitrogen (N) utilization strategy of plants has become a topic of interest within the field of phytoecology. However, few studies have considered N cycling on coral island ecosystems from the perspective of their evolution. The aim of this study was to test the impacts of biological transport by seabirds, on the sources and uses of N by plants, and pathways of N cycling in soil-plant ecosystems on coral islands. A series of eight coral islands were investigated, five of which were affected to a varying extent by seabirds...
January 29, 2018: Science of the Total Environment
Graeme R Finlayson, B Louise Chilvers, Hayley Pearson, Bridey J White, Serena T Finlayson, Karin Sievwright, Nicki van Zyl, Kerri J Morgan, Curt Clumpner
Aquatic pollution events can be detrimental to the survival of wildlife, particularly birds. To decontaminate affected birds, large quantities of fresh water are required. A recent study using seabird feathers, demonstrated that seawater wash/rinse can effectively remove oil from feathers. However to determine whether seawater was effective for live birds, we used 36 mallard ducks to replicate the oiled feather wash/rinse study. We investigated the time and volume of water used, bird water-proofing scores after daily swims and a barbule amalgamation index (BAI), for feathers collected at stages throughout the process...
January 2018: Marine Pollution Bulletin
F Amélineau, J Fort, P D Mathewson, D C Speirs, N Courbin, S Perret, W P Porter, R J Wilson, D Grémillet
There is an urgent need for a better understanding of animal migratory ecology under the influence of climate change. Most current analyses require long-term monitoring of populations on the move, and shorter-term approaches are needed. Here, we analysed the ecological drivers of seabird migration within the framework of the energyscape concept, which we defined as the variations in the energy requirements of an organism across geographical space as a function of environmental conditions. We compared the winter location of seabirds with their modelled energy requirements and prey fields throughout the North Atlantic...
January 2018: Royal Society Open Science
J M Cushing, Shandelle M Henson
For structured populations with an annual breeding season, life-stage interactions and behavioral tactics may occur on a faster time scale than that of population dynamics. Motivated by recent field studies of the effect of rising sea surface temperature (SST) on within-breeding-season behaviors in colonial seabirds, we formulate and analyze a general class of discrete-time matrix models designed to account for changes in behavioral tactics within the breeding season and their dynamic consequences at the population level across breeding seasons...
February 3, 2018: Journal of Mathematical Biology
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