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Chinstrap penguins alter foraging and diving behavior in response to the size of their principle prey, Antarctic krill
Miller, A.K.; Trivelpiece, W.Z. (2008). Chinstrap penguins alter foraging and diving behavior in response to the size of their principle prey, Antarctic krill. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 154(2): 201-208. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-008-0909-z
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Miller, A.K.
  • Trivelpiece, W.Z.

Abstract
    Penguins may exhibit plasticity in their diving and foraging behaviors in response to changes in prey availability. Chinstrap penguins are dependent predators of Antarctic krill in the Scotia Sea region, but krill populations have fluctuated in recent years. We examined the diet of chinstrap penguins at Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, in relation to their diving and foraging behavior using time-depth recorders over six breeding seasons: 2002–2007. When krill were smaller, more chinstrap penguins consumed fish. In these years, chinstrap penguins often exhibited a shift to deep dives after sundown, and then resumed a shallower pattern at sunrise. These night dives were unexpectedly deep (up to 110 m) and mean night dive depths sometimes exceeded those from the daytime. The average size of krill in each year was negatively correlated to mean night dive depths and the proportion of foraging trips taken overnight. Based on these patterns, we suggest that when krill were small, penguins increasingly targeted myctophid fish. The average krill size was negatively correlated to the time chinstrap penguins spent foraging which suggests that foraging on smaller krill and fish incurred a cost: more time was spent at sea foraging.

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