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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 297:283-296 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps297283

Effect of wintering area and climate on the survival of adult Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica in the eastern Atlantic

Michael P. Harris1,*, Tycho Anker-Nilssen2, Robin H. McCleery3, Kjell Einar Erikstad4, Deryk N. Shaw5, Vladimir Grosbois6,7,8

1NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Hill of Brathens, Banchory, Aberdeenshire AB31 4BW, UK
2Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), 7485 Trondheim, Norway
3Edward Grey Institute, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK
4Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), The Polar Environmental Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
5Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust, Fair Isle, Shetland ZE2 9JU, UK
6University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, Department of Biology, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
7Lighthouse Field Station, University of Aberdeen, Cromarty, Ross-shire IV11 8YJ, UK
8Present address: Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5175, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier cedex 5, France

ABSTRACT: Despite contrasting population trends ranging from –3 to +11% per annum, the annual survival rates of Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica in the 5 colonies spanning the species range in the east Atlantic were virtually identical over a 10 to 15 yr period, giving no support to the hypothesis that variation in population growth rates is driven by adult survival. The extent to which survival varied among years differed markedly between colonies. Similarities between colonies in the patterns of inter-annual variation in survival did not reflect similarities in wintering areas, as indicated by recoveries of ringed birds, nor the geographic proximity of the colonies. However, survival in 4 of the 5 colonies correlated with sea surface temperatures around each colony 2 yr earlier. The relationship between survival and sea temperature was positively correlated with the effects of sea temperature on recruitment of the Atlantic puffin’s main prey species, the lesser sandeel Ammodytes marinus, the herring Clupea harengus and the capelin Mallotus villosus.

KEY WORDS: Adult survival · North Atlantic Oscillation · Sea surface temperature · Population regulation

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