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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 676:233-242 (2021)  -  DOI:

Sharing wintering grounds does not synchronize annual survival in a high Arctic seabird, the little auk

Sébastien Descamps1,*, Benjamin Merkel1, Hallvard Strøm1, Rémi Choquet2, Harald Steen1, Jérome Fort3, Maria Gavrilo4, David Grémillet2, Dariusz Jakubas5, Kurt Jerstad6, Nina J. Karnovsky7, Yuri V. Krasnov4, Børge Moe8, Jorg Welcker9, Katarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas5

1Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
2Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, UMR 5175, CNRS - Université de Montpellier - Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier - EPHE, 34293 Montpellier, France
3Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés (LIENSs), UMR 7266 CNRS - La Rochelle Université, 17000 La Rochelle, France
4Association Maritime Heritage, Saint Petersburg 191186, Russia
5University of Gdańsk, Faculty of Biology, Department of Vertebrate Ecology and Zoology, 80-308 Gdańsk, Poland
6Aurebekksveien 61, 4515 Mandal, Norway
7Pomona College, Department of Biology, Claremont, California 91711, USA
8Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, 7034 Trondheim, Norway
9BioConsult SH, 25813 Husum, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Sharing the same wintering grounds by avian populations breeding in various areas may synchronize fluctuations in vital rates, which could increase the risk of extinction. Here, by combining multi-colony tracking with long-term capture-recapture data, we studied the winter distribution and annual survival of the most numerous Arctic seabird, the little auk Alle alle. We assessed whether little auks from different breeding populations in Svalbard and Franz Josef Land use the same wintering grounds and if this leads to synchronized survival. Our results indicate that birds from the Svalbard colonies shared similar wintering grounds, although differences existed in the proportion of birds from each colony using the different areas. Little auks from Franz Josef Land generally spent the winter in a separate area, but some individuals wintered in the Iceland Sea with Svalbard populations. Survival data from 3 Svalbard colonies collected in 2005-2018 indicated that sharing wintering grounds did not synchronize little auk annual survival rates. However, it is clear that the Iceland Sea is an important wintering area for little auks, and environmental changes in this area could have widespread impacts on many populations.

KEY WORDS: Migration · Synchrony · Alle alle · Non-breeding distribution · Geolocator · Capture-mark-recapture

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Cite this article as: Descamps S, Merkel B, Strøm H, Choquet R and others (2021) Sharing wintering grounds does not synchronize annual survival in a high Arctic seabird, the little auk. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 676:233-242.

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