Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Foraging Behavior Of Key Antarctic Predators Unchanged After Storms That Alter Prey Distribution

Date:
February 24, 2009
Source:
Stony Brook University
Summary:
Chinstrap penguins and fur seals showed persistent preferences for particular foraging areas even after a storm reduced the availability of food of choice in those areas, according to a new study. The research shows that the spatial distribution of fur seals and foraging chinstrap penguins did not change after a near gale, despite substantial changes in the abundance and distribution of their prey, Antarctic krill.

A nursing mother and pup Antarctic fur seal on the shore of Livingston Island. Fur seals go on extended foraging trips lasting several days or longer in order to acquire enough energy to pass to their offspring.
Credit: Photo courtesy Stony Brook University

Chinstrap penguins and fur seals showed persistent preferences for particular foraging areas even after a storm reduced the availability of food of choice in those areas, according to a study by Dr. Joseph Warren, Assistant Professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University and colleagues, published in the journal Marine Biology.

The team’s research shows that the spatial distribution of fur seals and foraging chinstrap penguins did not change after a near gale, despite substantial changes in the abundance and distribution of their prey, Antarctic krill.

“In order to better understand how energy moves through an ecosystem, we need to have a better understanding of how predator-prey interactions are affected by environmental conditions,” said Dr. Warren. “The storm that occurred between our two ship-based surveys created a perfect ‘natural experiment’ which allowed us to take ‘before’ and ‘after’ measurements and examine how the nearshore ecosystem north of Livingston Island Antarctica was affected by the winds and waves.”

Antarctic krill are 1-2 inches long crustaceans that play a critically important role in the ecosystem because so many other animals rely on krill as their primary food source. Dr. Warren and colleagues found that the storm reduced the concentration of krill in their study area to roughly half what it was before the storm, likely because currents pushed the krill off shore. They also observed that after the storm, krill were found in different geographic areas within the study site.

When Antarctic krill abundance decreased in certain areas after the storm, Dr. Warren and colleagues found that feeding aggregations of cape petrels, which are flying seabirds that eat krill, also decreased in those areas. However, other krill predators did not change their foraging behaviors in response to changes in krill distribution. Chinstrap penguins, which are swimming seabirds, and fur seals, which are marine mammals, both showed little change in their distribution after the storm.

“Relative to cape petrels, penguins and fur seals may not be as dependent on finding prey over small time scales due to their longer foraging-trip length and energy-storage capacity,” said Dr. Warren. “If the changes due to a storm are relatively short-lived, penguins and seals may not need to alter their habits and can stick to their familiar feeding areas.”

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Antarctic Marine Living Resources program. The study's co-authors are Jarrod A. Santora (City University of New York, now at the Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research) and David A. Demer (NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stony Brook University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Warren et al. Submesoscale distribution of Antarctic krill and its avian and pinniped predators before and after a near gale. Marine Biology, 2009; 156 (3): 479 DOI: 10.1007/s00227-008-1102-0

Cite This Page:

Stony Brook University. "Foraging Behavior Of Key Antarctic Predators Unchanged After Storms That Alter Prey Distribution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213105052.htm>.
Stony Brook University. (2009, February 24). Foraging Behavior Of Key Antarctic Predators Unchanged After Storms That Alter Prey Distribution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213105052.htm
Stony Brook University. "Foraging Behavior Of Key Antarctic Predators Unchanged After Storms That Alter Prey Distribution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213105052.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

AFP (July 29, 2014) The world's great apes face extinction within decades, renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall warned Tuesday in a call to arms to ensure man's closest relatives are not wiped out. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins