Foraging behavior links climate variability and reproduction in North Pacific albatrosses

Type Article
Date 2015
Language English
Author(s) Thorne Lesley H.1, Hazen Elliott L.2, 3, Bograd Steven J.2, Foley David G.2, 3, Conners Melinda G.4, Kappes Michelle A.5, 6, Kim Hyemi M.1, Costa Daniel P.6, Tremblay YannORCID7, Shaffer Scott A.8, 9
Affiliation(s) 1 : SUNY Stony Brook, Sch Marine & Atmospher Sci, Stony Brook, NY 11790 USA.
2 : NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Sci Ctr, Environm Res Div, Monterey, CA 93940 USA.
3 : Univ Calif Santa Cruz, Cooperat Inst Marine Ecosyst & Climate, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 USA.
4 : Univ Calif Santa Cruz, Dept Ocean Sci, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 USA.
5 : Oregon State Univ, Dept Fisheries & Wildlife, Corvallis, OR 97331 USA.
6 : Univ Calif Santa Cruz, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 USA.
7 : IRD, Res Unit Marine Biodivers Exploitat & Conservat, MARBEC UMR248, F-34203 Sete, France.
8 : San Jose State Univ, Dept Biol Sci, San Jose, CA 95192 USA.
9 : Univ Calif Santa Cruz, Inst Marine Sci, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 USA.
Source Movement Ecology (2051-3933) (Biomed Central Ltd), 2015 , Vol. 3 , N. 27 , P. 15p.
DOI 10.1186/s40462-015-0050-9
WOS© Times Cited 23
Keyword(s) Albatross, Movement, Reproductive success, Climate, Environmental variability

Background: Climate-driven environmental change in the North Pacific has been well documented, with marked effects on the habitat and foraging behavior of marine predators. However, the mechanistic linkages connecting climate-driven changes in behavior to predator populations are not well understood. We evaluated the effects of climate-driven environmental variability on the reproductive success and foraging behavior of Laysan and Black-footed albatrosses breeding in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands during both brooding and incubating periods. We assessed foraging trip metrics and reproductive success using data collected from 2002-2012 and 1981-2012, respectively, relative to variability in the location of the Transition Zone Chlorophyll Front (TZCF, an important foraging region for albatrosses), sea surface temperature (SST), Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI), and the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation index (NPGO). Results: Foraging behavior for both species was influenced by climatic and oceanographic factors. While brooding chicks, both species traveled farther during La Nina conditions, when NPGO was high and when the TZCF was farther north (farther from the breeding site). Models showed that reproductive success for both species showed similar trends, correlating negatively with conditions observed during La Nina events (low MEI, high SST, high NPGO, increased distance to TZCF), but models for Laysan albatrosses explained a higher proportion of the variation. Spatial correlations of Laysan albatross reproductive success and SST anomalies highlighted strong negative correlations (> 95 %) between habitat use and SST. Higher trip distance and/or duration during brooding were associated with decreased reproductive success. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that during adverse conditions (La Nina conditions, high NPGO, northward displacement of the TZCF), both Laysan and Black-footed albatrosses took longer foraging trips and/ or traveled farther during brooding, likely resulting in a lower reproductive success due to increased energetic costs. Our results link climate variability with both albatross behavior and reproductive success, information that is critical for predicting how albatross populations will respond to future climate change.

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Thorne Lesley H., Hazen Elliott L., Bograd Steven J., Foley David G., Conners Melinda G., Kappes Michelle A., Kim Hyemi M., Costa Daniel P., Tremblay Yann, Shaffer Scott A. (2015). Foraging behavior links climate variability and reproduction in North Pacific albatrosses. Movement Ecology, 3(27), 15p. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :