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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 291:289-300 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps291289

Foraging activity and submesoscale habitat use of waved albatrosses Phoebastria irrorata during chick-brooding period

Jill A. Awkerman1,*, Akira Fukuda2, Hiroyoshi Higuchi3, David J. Anderson1

1Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem North Carolina 27109-7325, USA
2Department of Electrical Engineering, Shizuoka University, Hamamatsu 432-8561, Japan
3School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan

ABSTRACT: Highly accurate GPS dataloggers, immersion monitors, and remote-sensing images were used to examine the foraging habitat of the waved albatross Phoebastria irrorata with greater resolution than that in previous mesoscale studies, which identified features of foraging trip destinations. Analyses revealed reduced variability in habitat use at finer scales. Bathymetry was consistently a statistically significant predictor of the foraging habitat of parent albatrosses tracked during the 2003 chick-brooding period, when they made short trips close to breeding grounds. These brood-stage parents were more active during the day than the night, and nocturnal flight activity was positively correlated with moon phase. All tracked parents travelled to the shallow (<600 m) quadrant NNW of the breeding colony on Isla Española, Galápagos. Corroborating the result of a previous study, 92% of all activity occurred within 100 km of the breeding colony. Foraging activity was similar for males and females. These data provide critical information on habitat use of the breeding component of the waved albatross population within the newly created Galápagos Marine Reserve.

KEY WORDS: Phoebastria irrorata · Galápagos Islands · Seabird habitat

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