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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 436:273-289 (2011)  -  DOI:

Marine and terrestrial factors affecting Adélie ­penguin Pygoscelis adeliae chick growth and recruitment off the western Antarctic Peninsula

Erik W. Chapman1,4,*, Eileen E. Hofmann1, Donna L. Patterson2, Christine A. Ribic3, William R. Fraser2

1Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, 4111 Monarch Way, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, USA
2Polar Oceans Research Group, PO Box 368, Sheridan, Montana 59749, USA
3US Geological Survey Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, Dept. Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA
4Present address: New Hampshire Sea Grant, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, 131 Main Street, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA

ABSTRACT: An individual-based bioenergetics model that simulates the growth of an Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae chick from hatching to fledging was used to assess marine and terrestrial factors that affect chick growth and fledging mass off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Simulations considered the effects on Adélie penguin fledging mass of (1) modification of chick diet through the addition of Antarctic silverfish Pleuragramma antarcticum to an all-Antarctic krill Euphausia superba diet, (2) reduction of provisioning rate which may occur as a result of an environmental stress such as reduced prey availability, and (3) increased thermoregulatory costs due to wetting of chicks which may result from increased precipitation or snow-melt in colonies. Addition of 17% Antarctic silverfish of Age-Class 3 yr (AC3) to a penguin chick diet composed of Antarctic krill increased chick fledging mass by 5%. Environmental stress that results in >4% reduction in provisioning rate or wetting of just 10% of the chick’s surface area decreased fledging mass enough to reduce the chick’s probability of successful recruitment. The negative effects of reduced provisioning and wetting on chick growth can be compensated for by inclusion of Antarctic silverfish of AC3 and older in the chick diet. Results provide insight into climate-driven processes that influence chick growth and highlight a need for field research designed to investigate factors that determine the availability of AC3 and older Antarctic silverfish to foraging Adélie penguins and the influence of snowfall on chick wetting, thermoregulation and adult provisioning rate.

KEY WORDS: Adélie penguin · Climate change · Chick growth · Antarctic Peninsula

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Cite this article as: Chapman EW, Hofmann EE, Patterson DL, Ribic CA, Fraser WR (2011) Marine and terrestrial factors affecting Adélie ­penguin Pygoscelis adeliae chick growth and recruitment off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 436:273-289.

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