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Mates but not sexes differ in migratory niche in a monogamous penguin species
Thiebot, J.; Bost, C.; Dehnhard, N.; Demongin, L.; Eens, M.; Lepoint, G.; Cherel, Y.; Poisbleau, M. (2015). Mates but not sexes differ in migratory niche in a monogamous penguin species. Biol. Lett. 11(9).
In: Biology Letters. Royal Society Publishing: London. ISSN 1744-9561, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Author keywords
    pair bonds; winter; monogamy; geolocation (GLS); seabird; stableisotopes

Authors  Top 
  • Thiebot, J.
  • Bost, C.
  • Dehnhard, N., more
  • Demongin, L., more
  • Eens, M., more
  • Lepoint, G., more
  • Cherel, Y.
  • Poisbleau, M., more

    Strong pair bonds generally increase fitness in monogamous organisms, but may also underlie the risk of hampering it when re-pairing fails after the winter season. We investigated whether partners would either maintain contact or offset this risk by exploiting sex-specific favourable niches during winter in a migratory monogamous seabird, the southern rockhopper penguin Eudyptes chrysocome. Using light-based geolocation, we show that although the spatial distribution of both sexes largely overlapped, pair-wise mates were located on average 595 ± 260 km (and up to 2500 km) apart during winter. Stable isotope data also indicated a marked overlap between sex-specific isotopic niches (d13C and d15N values) but a segregation of the feeding habitats (d13C values) within pairs. Importantly, the tracked females remained longer (12 days) at sea than males, but all re-mated with their previous partners after winter. Our study provides multiple evidence that migratory species may well demonstrate pair-wise segregation even in the absence of sex-specific winter niches (spatial and isotopic). We suggest that dispersive migration patterns with sex-biased timings may be a sufficient proximal cause for generating such a situation in migratory animals.

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