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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 4:105-112 (2008)  -  DOI:

Space use by foraging Galápagos penguins during chick rearing

Antje Steinfurth1,3,*, F. Hernan Vargas2,3,6, Rory P. Wilson4, Michael Spindler5, David W. Macdonald2

1Research and Technology Centre (FTZ), University of Kiel, Hafentörn, 25761 Büsum, Germany
2Department of Zoology , Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford, Tubney House, Abingdon Road, Tubney, Oxfordshire OX13 5QL, UK
3Charles Darwin Foundation, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador
4School of Environment and Society University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
5Institute of Polar Biology, University of Kiel, Wischhofstr. 1–3, Building 12, 24148 Kiel, Germany
6Present address: The Peregrine Fund/Fondo Peregrino Panamá, Apartado 0844-00230, Panamá City, Republic of Panama

ABSTRACT: Between May 2004 and May 2005, we studied the horizontal and vertical movements of foraging Galápagos penguins Spheniscus mendiculus during their breeding season to examine space use at sea and to compare the volume of water exploited by this penguin to those of other penguin species. A total of 23 adult penguins (11 males and 12 females) brooding chicks were fitted with GPS-depth recorders at the 3 main nesting sites on south-western Isabela Island. Birds moved between 1.1 and 23.5 km (mean = 5.2 ± 4.9 km) from the nest, concentrating foraging in a strip of sea within 1.0 km of the shore. Foraging trips lasted a mean of 8.4 ± 2.0 h. Although the deepest dive was 52.1 m, birds spent, on average, 90% of their time underwater at depths less than 6 m. Both foraging ranges and dive depths were below those predicted from allometric regressions derived from other penguin species. Applying the maximum values for movement to calculate space use, the Galápagos penguin exploits a maximum volume of water of <1.4 km3, which is almost 90 times less than that predicted for its mass, and thus utilises only a small portion of the total potentially available upwelling area within the Galápagos Archipelago.

KEY WORDS: Galápagos penguin · Spheniscus mendiculus · Endangered species · Conservation · Foraging range

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Cite this article as: Steinfurth A, Vargas FH, Wilson RP, Spindler M, Macdonald DW (2008) Space use by foraging Galápagos penguins during chick rearing. Endang Species Res 4:105-112.

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