Seabird associations with mesoscale eddies: the subtropical Indian Ocean

Type Article
Date 2006
Language English
Author(s) Hyrenbach K. David1, 5, Veit Richard R.2, Weimerskirch HenriORCID3, Hunt George L., Jr.4, 5
Affiliation(s) 1 : Duke Univ, Marine Lab, Beaufort, NC 28516 USA.
2 : CUNY Coll Staten Isl, Dept Biol, Staten Isl, NY 10314 USA.
3 : Natl Ctr Sci Res, Ctr Etudes Biol Chize, F-79360 Villiers En Bois, France.
4 : Univ Calif Irvine, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol, Irvine, CA 92697 USA.
5 : Univ Washington, Sch Aquat & Fishery Sci, Seattle, WA 98195 USA.
Source Marine Ecology Progress Series (0171-8630) (Inter-research), 2006 , Vol. 324 , P. 271-279
DOI 10.3354/meps324271
WOS© Times Cited 72
Keyword(s) altimetry, Indian Ocean, mesoscale eddies, remote sensing, seabirds, sea surface height anomalies

We investigated seabird-eddy associations in subtropical waters of the southern Indian Ocean during a summer (January) cruise from Amsterdam Island to Western Australia. To determine habitat associations and to enable predictions about foraging strategies, we related the distributions of satellite altimetry data (sea surface height anomalies) to the 3 most abundant taxa in the study area: terns (sooty Sterna fuscata and bridled S. anaethetus) and shearwaters (wedge-tailed Puffinus pacificus) were significantly more common and numerous within convergence zones. However, a step-wise logistic regression model revealed that these seabirds were more strongly associated with other habitat variables, including the distance to breeding colonies and warm sea surface temperature conditions. Great-winged petrels Pterodroma macroptera were widely scattered and did not show associations with convergences or divergences. These contrasting results highlight the need to consider smaller-scale hydrographic features, such as frontal systems, when quantifying seabird associations with mesoscale eddies. Large-scale patterns of ocean circulation and mesoscale variability also seem to play a critical role in determining the extent of seabird-eddy associations. In contrast with previous studies, which have focused on dynamic frontal regions and energetic current systems, we surveyed a region of weak mesoscale variability north of the Subtropical Convergence zone.

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