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Influence of sea-ice-related features and anthropogenic subsidies on the foraging behaviour of a high-Arctic seabird, the ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea)

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  • Keyvan Dumas, Universite Grenoble Alpes, Groupe de Recherche en Ecologie Arctique
  • ,
  • Olivier Gilg, Universite de Bourgogne, Groupe de Recherche en Ecologie Arctique
  • ,
  • Nicolas Courbin, Universite Grenoble Alpes
  • ,
  • Alejandro Corregidor-Castro
  • ,
  • Guillaume Evanno, Groupe de Recherche en Ecologie Arctique, L'Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer
  • ,
  • Hallvard Strøm, Norwegian Polar Institute
  • ,
  • Anders Mosbech
  • Morten Frederiksen
  • Glenn Yannic, Universite Grenoble Alpes, Groupe de Recherche en Ecologie Arctique

The Arctic region is currently experiencing major modifications in sea ice extent and phenology due to global climate and anthropogenic changes. As Arctic marine ecosystems rely greatly on the presence of sea ice and its seasonal dynamics, these changes could have major impacts on Arctic biota. The ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea) is an endemic Arctic seabird whose populations are declining in Canada and Svalbard. Its affinity for sea ice makes it a good sentinel species of current changes in the high Arctic. We explored the influence of sea-ice-related features and anthropogenic subsidies on the foraging behaviour of ivory gulls during the breeding season. To this end, we analysed the movement of adult ivory gulls in north-east Greenland. We confirmed that ivory gulls use a dual foraging strategy, with birds faithful to their foraging areas at short distances from the colony, but used individual-specific areas during long-distance foraging trips. We highlight that ivory gulls are spatially specialised individuals within a generalist species. We demonstrated that human settlements attracted foraging birds, which shows that human presence in such a remote place may influence the seabird behaviour. Finally, by combining hidden Markov models and resource selection functions, we showed that ivory gulls selected highly concentrated sea ice for foraging during the breeding season. Our study provides key information on the use of space and foraging strategies of ivory gulls during the breeding season, and more broadly, how Arctic seabirds use ice features.

TidsskriftMarine Biology
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
MF was supported by the North-East Greenland Environmental Study Program, financed by the Greenland Government, and GY was supported by the French Polar Institute-IPEV [Program “Ivory 1210”].

Funding Information:
We thank David Boertmann, Henrik Haaning Nielsen, and Jonas Koefoed Rømer for their help during fieldwork. We also thank Jørgen Skafte, Bjarne Jensen, and colleagues at the Villum Research Station, as well as Hans Christian Have (Arktisk Kommando) and personnel at Station Nord, for logistical support. We also thank Thomas Broquet and Anne Loison for discussions and comments on earlier drafts, and Joe Gambier for his attentive and careful reading of the manuscript. Finally, we thank the three anonymous reviewers that commented on our first submission. Their sharp and positive comments helped improve our study greatly.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

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