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Multi-scale foraging variability in Northern gannet (Morus bassanus) fuels potential foraging plasticity
Pettex, E.; Lorentsen, S.-H.; Gremillet, D.; Gimenez, O.; Barrett, R.T.; Pons, J.-B.; Le Bohec, C.; Bonadonna, F. (2012). Multi-scale foraging variability in Northern gannet (Morus bassanus) fuels potential foraging plasticity. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(12): 2743-2756.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Pettex, E.
  • Lorentsen, S.-H.
  • Gremillet, D.
  • Gimenez, O.
  • Barrett, R.T.
  • Pons, J.-B.
  • Le Bohec, C.
  • Bonadonna, F.

    The survival of marine predators depends on behavioural plasticity to cope with changes in prey distribution. Variability in behaviour might predict plasticity and is easier to assess than plasticity. Using miniaturized GPS loggers over several breeding seasons in two Norwegian Northern gannet (Morus bassanus) colonies, we investigated if and how the variability within and between individuals, but also between colonies and years, affected foraging strategies. Results revealed strong individual variability (foraging trip durations, foraging effort and different foraging areas). Individuals from both colonies showed preferred commuting routes, flight bearings and feeding hotspots. Individuals from the largest colony used larger and more foraging areas than individuals from the small colony. Feeding hotspots and foraging ranges varied amongst years in the largest colony only. Our study demonstrated that gannets show flexibility by changing prey fields that are driven by shifting oceanographic conditions.

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