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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 4:95-103 (2008)  -  DOI:

Foraging behaviour of little penguins Eudyptula minor in an artificially modified environment

Tiana J. Preston1, Yan Ropert-Coudert2, Akiko Kato3, André Chiaradia1,4, Roger Kirkwood4, Peter Dann4, Richard D. Reina1,*

1School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia
2Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, UMR 7178 DEPE, 23 rue Becquerel, 67087 Strasbourg, France
3National Institute of Polar Research, 1-9-10 Kaga, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8515, Japan
4Research Department, Phillip Island Nature Parks, PO Box 97, Cowes, Victoria 3922, Australia
*-Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We investigated the 3-dimensional foraging behaviour of little penguins Eudyptula minor breeding on an artificially constructed breakwater near dredged shipping channels in Port Phillip Bay, southern Australia. Breeding penguins were fitted with either satellite trackers or time-depth recorders during the 2006–2007 breeding season to record foraging locations and diving behaviour, which were then compared with local bathymetry. Diving appeared to be both mid-water and demersal, and on 1 d trips penguins reached a mean maximum distance from the colony of 13.8 km. Penguins were recorded in locations containing artificially constructed shipping channels, and examination of their diving profiles suggests that they probably forage within these channels. Little penguins at this urban colony have benefited from anthropogenic alterations in the terrestrial environment, but their location exposes them to many potential anthropogenic threats in their marine environment, including a large-scale dredging operation to deepen the existing shipping channels.

KEY WORDS: Anthropogenic · Dredge · Satellite · Foraging · Dive · Eudyptula minor

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Cite this article as: Preston TJ, Ropert-Coudert Y, Kato A, Chiaradia A, Kirkwood R, Dann P, Reina RD (2008) Foraging behaviour of little penguins Eudyptula minor in an artificially modified environment. Endang Species Res 4:95-103.

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