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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 129:295-300 (1995)  -  doi:10.3354/meps129295

Seabirds as indicators of marine resources: black-browed albatrosses feeding on ommastrephid squids in Kerguelen waters

Cherel Y, Weimerskirch H

The species, distributions and abundances of squids in the Southern Ocean are difficult to assess by conventional oceanographic means. The study of the food and feeding ecology of squid-eating predators such as procellariiform seabirds appears to be a supplemental way to collect useful information on cephalopod biology. Regurgitations were collected from 52 chicks of the black-browed albatross Diomedea melanophrys at Kerguelen Island in February 1994. Cephalopod remains were removed and identified by means of beaks, gladius and mantle. Squid beaks of the family Ommastrephidae amounted to 55% (n = 348) of the accumulated squid beaks. They were also those most often regurgitated in association with partially digested crowns and mantles (90% of the squid fresh remains, n = 28). Two species of ommastrephids equally dominated the squid diet, Martialia hyadesi (only found once in Kerguelen waters) and a Todarodes species, probably T. angolensis, previously unknown in the area. The concomitant satellite tracking of 16 adult birds over a total of 35 foraging trips identified their main feeding areas as the inner shelf break to the NE and over a bank to the SE of Kerguelen Island. Taken together, albatross dietary and foraging data indicate that juveniles of M. hyadesi and Todarodes sp. concentrate over the upper shelf slope to the east of Kerguelen Island, some of them occurring in the top 5 m of the water column where they are caught by the albatrosses.

Bioindicator . Diet . Antarctic . Marine food web . Satellite tracking

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