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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 351:261-271 (2007)  -  DOI:

Nutritional and feeding ecology in Cory’s shearwater Calonectris diomedea during breeding

Joan Navarro1,*, Jacob González-Solís1, Ginés Viscor2

1Departament de Biologia Animal (Vertebrats), and 2Departament de Fisiologia, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 645, Barcelona 08028, Spain

ABSTRACT: In birds, parents adjust their feeding behaviour according to breeding duties, which ultimately may lead to seasonal adjustments in nutritional physiology and hematology over the breeding season. Although avian physiology has been widely investigated in captivity, few studies have integrated individual changes in feeding and physiological ecology throughout the breeding season in wild birds. To study relationships between feeding ecology and nutritional ecophysiology in Cory’s shearwater Calonectris diomedea, we weighed and took blood samples from 28 males and 19 females during the pre-laying, egg-laying, incubation, hatching and chick-rearing periods of the breeding season. In addition, we fitted 6 birds with geolocators to track their foraging movements throughout the reproductive period. Thus, we examined individual changes in (1) nutritional condition (biochemistry metabolites); (2) oxygen carrying capacity (hematology); and (3) feeding areas and foraging effort (stable isotopes and foraging movements). Geolocators revealed a latitudinal shift in main feeding areas towards more southern and more neritic waters throughout the breeding season, which is consistent with the steady increase in δ13C signatures in the blood. Geolocators also showed a decrease in foraging effort from egg-laying to hatching, reflecting the activity decrease associated with incubation duties. Plasma metabolites, body mass and oxygen carrying capacity were associated with temporal changes in nutritional state and foraging effort in relation to recovery after migration, egg formation, fasting shifts during incubation and chick provisioning. This study shows that combining physiological and ecological approaches can help us understand the influence of breeding duties on feeding ecology and nutritional physiology in wild birds.

KEY WORDS: Biochemistry · Ecophysiology · Hematology · Foraging ecology · Seabirds

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Cite this article as: Navarro J, González-Solís J, Viscor G (2007) Nutritional and feeding ecology in Cory’s shearwater Calonectris diomedea during breeding. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 351:261-271.

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