Anders Galatius

Composition of chick meals from one of the main little auk (Alle alle) breeding colonies in Northwest Greenland

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During the last decade, increasing information on little auk (Alle alle) biology, ecology and behaviour has been reported. However, only a few of these studies have focused on the breeding population in the Avanersuaq (Thule) district of Northwest Greenland, where 80 % of the global little auk population is estimated to breed. This study reports on the chick diet composition from one of the largest colonies, the Paakitsoq colony, located on the south-eastern margin of the North Water (NOW) Polynya. Results revealed the highest proportion of Calanus hyperboreus, a large lipid-rich copepod, in chick diet reported for any little auk colony. Results confirmed that the cold, highly productive waters of the NOW Polynya are favourable foraging grounds for the little auks during the breeding season. Species diversity within and between the chick meals was low, which probably reflects a high availability of a few preferred prey species. Individual chick meals were generally low in number of prey items and total energy content compared with other published results. This may be explained by a higher feeding frequency or by the samples being collected late in the breeding period (during late chick rearing), when chicks have a reduced growth rate and may require less energy than at earlier developmental stages.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolar Biology
Volume37
Issue7
Pages (from-to)1055-1060
Number of pages6
ISSN0722-4060
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • Little auk, Chick diet, High arctic, Seabirds, Calanus species, PELAGIC SEABIRD, CALANUS-FINMARCHICUS, ENERGY-EXPENDITURE, FORAGING STRATEGY, BAFFIN-BAY, DOVEKIES, POPULATION, HYPERBOREUS, GLACIALIS, BEHAVIOR

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