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Breeding ecology of Horned Puffins (Fratercula corniculata) in Alaska: Annual variation and effects of El Nin??o

Canadian Journal of Zoology

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.1139/z03-075

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Abstract

Both within and among seabird species, different aspects of breeding biology may respond to changes in prey availability in distinct ways, and the identification of species-specific breeding parameters that are sensitive to food availability is useful for monitoring purposes. We present data from a 5-year study (1995-1999) of the breeding ecology of Horned Puffins (Fratercula corniculata) in Alaska. The El Nin??o - Southern Oscillation event of 1997-1998 provided an opportunity to examine the sensitivity of various breeding parameters to a reduction in prey availability caused by the anomalous oceanographic conditions of 1998. Horned Puffins were able to maintain high fledging success (83-97%) over the 5 years of the study, despite the poor local feeding conditions in 1998. The rate of increase in chick mass was lowest in 1998, and evidence suggests that chicks also fledged at the youngest ages in that year. The impacts of reduced food availability on growth varied among body structures, suggesting differential allocation of energy and nutrients. There was no variation among years in either chick diet or the mass of food loads delivered by adults. We suggest that rates of chick growth, specifically mass increase, may be a good parameter to measure for use in monitoring Horned Puffins.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Breeding ecology of Horned Puffins (Fratercula corniculata) in Alaska: Annual variation and effects of El Nin??o
Series title:
Canadian Journal of Zoology
DOI:
10.1139/z03-075
Volume
81
Issue:
6
Year Published:
2003
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
1004
Last page:
1013
Number of Pages:
10