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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 676:205-218 (2021)  -  DOI:

Long-term tracking of an Arctic-breeding seabird indicates high fidelity to pelagic wintering areas

Don-Jean Léandri-Breton1,2,*, Arnaud Tarroux3, Kyle H. Elliott1, Pierre Legagneux2,4, Frédéric Angelier2, Pierre Blévin5, Vegard Sandøy Bråthen6, Per Fauchald3, Aurélie Goutte7, William Jouanneau2,8, Sabrina Tartu2, Børge Moe6,#, Olivier Chastel2,#

1Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada
2Centre d’Études Biologiques de Chizé (CEBC), UMR 7372 - CNRS & Université de La Rochelle, 79360 Villiers-en-Bois, France
3Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
4Département de Biologie, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
5Akvaplan-niva AS, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
6Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, 7485, Trondheim, Norway
7École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), PSL Research University, UMR 7619 Sorbonne University, 75014 Paris, France
8Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
*Corresponding author:
#These authors share equal authorship

ABSTRACT: Site fidelity is driven by predictable resource distributions in time and space. However, intrinsic factors related to an individual’s physiology and life-history traits can contribute to consistent foraging behaviour and movement patterns. Using 11 yr of continuous geolocation tracking data (fall 2008 to spring 2019), we investigated spatiotemporal consistency in non-breeding movements in a pelagic seabird population of black-legged kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla breeding in the High Arctic (Svalbard). Our objective was to assess the relative importance of spatial versus temporal repeatability behind inter-annual movement consistency during winter. Most kittiwakes used pelagic regions of the western North Atlantic. Winter site fidelity was high both within and across individuals and at meso (100-1000 km) and macro scales (>1000 km). Spatial consistency in non-breeding movement was higher within than among individuals, suggesting that site fidelity might emerge from individuals’ memory to return to locations with predictable resource availability. Consistency was also stronger in space than in time, suggesting that it was driven by consistent resource pulses that may vary in time more so than in space. Nonetheless, some individuals displayed more flexibility by adopting a strategy of itinerancy during winter, and the causes of this flexibility are unclear. Specialization for key wintering areas can indicate vulnerability to environmental perturbations, with winter survival and carry-over effects arising from winter conditions as potential drivers of population dynamics.

KEY WORDS: Spatial distribution · Individual consistency · Migration · Repeatability · Nearest neighbor distance · Biologging · Global Location Sensors · GLS

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Cite this article as: Léandri-Breton DJ, Tarroux A, Elliott KH, Legagneux P and others (2021) Long-term tracking of an Arctic-breeding seabird indicates high fidelity to pelagic wintering areas. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 676:205-218.

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