MEPS 521:277-282 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11128

NOTE
Stable isotope values delineate the non-breeding distributions of sooty shearwaters Puffinus griseus in the North Pacific Ocean

David R. Thompson1,*, Leigh G. Torres1,2, Graeme A. Taylor3, Matt J. Rayner4, Paul M. Sagar5, Scott A. Shaffer6, Richard A. Phillips7, Sarah J. Bury1

1National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd., 301 Evans Bay Parade, Hataitai, Wellington 6021, New Zealand
2Marine Mammal Institute, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, Oregon 97365, USA
3Department of Conservation, 18-32 Manners Street, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
4Centre of Biodiversity and Biosecurity, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
5National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd., 10 Kyle Street, Riccarton, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
6Department of Biological Sciences, San Jose State University, 1 Washington Square, San Jose, California 95192-0100, USA
7British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Following breeding, sooty shearwaters Puffinus griseus leave New Zealand waters and migrate to 1 of 3 distinct areas in the North Pacific Ocean, effectively exploiting environmental resources across a large proportion of this northern ocean basin. In this study, we combined electronic tracking technology with stable isotope analyses (δ15N and δ13C) of feathers grown during the non-breeding period in order to evaluate whether isotope signatures can be used to identify specific non-breeding areas used by sooty shearwaters. A region to the east of Japan was utilised by the majority of tracked birds, whereas others used areas off the west coast of North America. Stable isotope values of feathers allowed the discrimination of individuals that used each of the 3 different non-breeding areas, and suggested that birds off Japan can be further separated into ‘coastal’ and ‘offshore’ groups. Our results confirm the utility of using stable isotope analysis, validated by tracking devices, as a tool to determine distribution and habitat use of a long-range oceanic migrant, the sooty shearwater. These results also highlight the resource connectivity between the northern and southern Pacific Ocean basin.


KEY WORDS: Isoscape · Migratory connectivity · New Zealand · Seabird · Spatial distribution


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Cite this article as: Thompson DR, Torres LG, Taylor GA, Rayner MJ and others (2015) Stable isotope values delineate the non-breeding distributions of sooty shearwaters Puffinus griseus in the North Pacific Ocean. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 521:277-282. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11128

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