Inter-Research > MEPS > v435 > p225-233  
MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 435:225-233 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09239

Functional relationship between group size and population density in Northwest Atlantic seabirds

Guy Beauchamp

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 5000, St-Hyacinthe, Québec J2S 7C6, Canada

ABSTRACT: In many bird societies, group size results from the fusion and fission of existing groups. Group size dynamics should ideally be investigated in a population-level context since population density is likely to influence the rate of encounter between individuals and thus the value of joining or leaving groups. However, few studies have documented the shape of the functional relationship between group size and population density. The functional relationship can be of 2 types: (1) a strictly increasing function reflecting random joining and leaving, and (2) a saturating function indicating a preference for a range of group sizes so that a large increase in population density results primarily in more groups rather than larger groups. Using at-sea survey data from 2006 to 2010 in the Northwest Atlantic, I documented a saturating functional relationship between group size and population density in 5 species of seabirds and a strictly increasing function in 2 other bird species. The results suggest that upper limits to group sizes may be common in seabirds, perhaps reflecting feeding competition in larger groups.


KEY WORDS: Atlantic seabirds · Feeding competition · Group size · Population density


Full text in pdf format 
Cite this article as: Beauchamp G (2011) Functional relationship between group size and population density in Northwest Atlantic seabirds. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 435:225-233. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09239

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
Facebook - - linkedIn