Scale-dependent correlation of seabirds with schooling fish in a coastal ecosystem

Marine Ecology Progress Series
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Abstract

The distribution of piscivorous seabirds relative to schooling fish was investigated by repeated censusing of 2 intersecting transects in the Avalon Channel, which carries the Labrador Current southward along the east coast of Newfoundland. Murres (primarily common murres Uria aalge), Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica, and schooling fish (primarily capelin Mallotus villosus) were highly aggregated at spatial scales ranging from 0.25 to 15 km. Patchiness of murres, puffins and schooling fish was scale-dependent, as indicated by significantly higher variance-to-mean ratios at large measurement distances than at the minimum distance, 0.25 km. Patch scale of puffins ranged from 2.5 to 15 km, of murres from 3 to 8.75 km, and of schooling fish from 1.25 to 15 km. Patch scale of birds and schooling fish was similar m 6 out of 9 comparisons. Correlation between seabirds and schooling birds was significant at the minimum measurement distance in 6 out of 12 comparisons. Correlation was scale-dependent, as indicated by significantly higher coefficients at large measurement distances than at the minimum distance. Tracking scale, as indicated by the maximum significant correlation between birds and schooling fish, ranged from 2 to 6 km. Our analysis showed that extended aggregations of seabirds are associated with extended aggregations of schooling fish and that correlation of these marine carnivores with their prey is scale-dependent.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Scale-dependent correlation of seabirds with schooling fish in a coastal ecosystem
Series title Marine Ecology Progress Series
Volume 32
Year Published 1986
Language English
Publisher Inter-Research Science Center
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 237
Last page 246
Country Canada
State Newfoundland
Other Geospatial Avalon Channel, Grand Banks