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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 23:263-276 (2014)  -  DOI:

Stage-dependent distribution of the Critically Endangered Amsterdam albatross in relation to Economic Exclusive Zones

Jean-Baptiste Thiebot1,2,3,*, Karine Delord1, Cédric Marteau2, Henri Weimerskirch1

1Centre d’Études Biologiques de Chizé, UPR 1934 du CNRS, 79360 Villiers-en-Bois, France
2Réserve Naturelle Nationale des Terres Australes Françaises, TAAF, 1 rue Gabriel Dejean, 97410 Saint-Denis-de-La-Réunion, France
3Present address: National Institute of Polar Research, 10-3, Midoricho, Tachikawa, 190-8518 Tokyo, Japan
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Long-lived animals typically exhibit several stages throughout their life cycle during which their distribution may vary substantially, which may challenge the relevance of protection measures. Here we surveyed individual movements of the Critically Endangered Amsterdam albatross from Amsterdam Island, southern Indian Ocean, throughout its life cycle. Our goal was to identify, from the areas visited by the albatrosses, which coastal states share responsibility in regulating industrial fishing in their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in order to promote the preservation of this species. Using stage-relevant tracking techniques (satellite tags, GPS and GLS loggers), we surveyed 361 at-sea trips by 93 individuals over 9 yr, covering incubation, brooding, chick-rearing, sabbatical, failed-breeding, juvenile and immature stages. Our data show that Amsterdam albatrosses exhibit a wide and variable foraging radius (from 326 ± 193 km during brooding to 5519 ± 766 km for immatures) and at-sea distribution across stages, putting them beyond the French EEZ of Amsterdam Island for all or part of the trips surveyed in each stage, and even outside the Indian Ocean when breeding. In all, the breeding versus non-breeding albatrosses visited the EEZs of 1 to 3 versus 3 to 4 countries, respectively. Only breeders visited the  EEZs of Madagascar and Mauritius, while only non-breeders visited the EEZs of Australia, South Africa and Namibia. This study stresses the relevance to conservation of obtaining synoptic information on the distribution of threatened species, especially regarding the breeding versus non-breeding categories of populations.

KEY WORDS: Seabird · Tracking · Global Location Sensing · GLS · Global Positioning System · GPS · Platform terminal transmitter · PTT · Fisheries · Non-breeding · Juvenile

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Cite this article as: Thiebot JB, Delord K, Marteau C, Weimerskirch H (2014) Stage-dependent distribution of the Critically Endangered Amsterdam albatross in relation to Economic Exclusive Zones. Endang Species Res 23:263-276.

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