Seabirds fighting for land: phenotypic consequences of breeding area constraints at a small remote archipelago

Type Article
Date 2018-01
Language English
Author(s) Tavares Nunes GuilhermeORCID1, 2, Bertrand Sophie3, 4, Bugoni Leandro1, 2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Fed Rio Grande FURG, Lab Aves Aquat & Tartarugas Marinhas, Inst Ciencias Biol, CP 474, Rio Grande, RS, Brazil.
2 : Univ Fed Rio Grande FURG, Lab Aves Aquat & Tartarugas Marinhas, Programa Posgrad Oceanog Biol, CP 474, Rio Grande, RS, Brazil.
3 : IRD, MARBEC UMR248, Ctr Rech Halieut Mediterraneenne & Trop, Ave Jean Monnet,BP 171, F-34203 Sete, France.
4 : Univ Fed Rural Pernambuco UFRPE, Dept Pesca & Aquicultura, Dept Biometria, Rua Dom Manuel de Medeiros S-N, Recife, PE, Brazil.
Source Scientific Reports (2045-2322) (Nature Publishing Group), 2018-01 , Vol. 8 , N. https://w3 , P. 665 (12p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-18808-7
WOS© Times Cited 12

Identifying associations between phenotypes and environmental parameters is crucial for understanding how natural selection acts at the individual level. In this context, genetically isolated populations can be useful models for identifying the forces selecting fitness-related traits. Here, we use a comprehensive dataset on a genetically and ecologically isolated population of the strictly marine bird, the brown booby Sula leucogaster, at the tropical and remote Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago, mid-Atlantic Ocean, in order to detect phenotypic adjustments from interindividual differences in diet, foraging behaviour, and nest quality. For this, we took biometrics of all individuals of the colony breeding in 2014 and 2015 and tested their associations with nest quality, diet parameters, and foraging behaviour. While body size was not related to the foraging parameters, the body size of the females (responsible for nest acquisition and defence) was significantly associated with the nest quality, as larger females occupied high-quality nests. Our findings suggest that the small breeding area, rather than prey availability, is a limiting factor, emphasizing the role of on-land features in shaping phenotypic characteristics and fitness in land-dependent marine vertebrates.

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Publisher's official version 12 1 MB Open access
Supplementary Information 11 875 KB Open access
3D brown boobies colony 5 MB Open access
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