Tracking a northern fulmar from a Scottish nesting site to the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone: Evidence of linkage between coastal breeding seabirds and Mid-Atlantic Ridge feeding sites

Ewan W. J. Edwards, Lucy R. Quinn, Ewan D. Wakefield, Peter I. Miller, Paul M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The seas above mid-ocean ridges are biodiversity hotspots in an otherwise largely oligotrophic environment, but the nature and extent of linkage between these offshore regimes and coastal ecosystems remains uncertain. Using a combination of GPS and geolocation tracking data, we show that a male fulmar, breeding on the Scottish coast, foraged over areas of persistent thermal fronts along the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge during the incubation period. The bird travelled over 6200 km in 14.9 days. First-passage time analysis identified seven areas of restricted search, four on the shelf and three in the vicinity of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Previous studies of incubation foraging trip durations at this site suggest that a trip of this duration is unusual, and further work is required to assess the extent to which different individuals use these offshore resources. Nevertheless, these data highlight the potential importance of high sea areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction when considering the management and conservation of seabirds breeding in NW Europe, and raises the potential for even greater linkage between the CGFZ and seabirds breeding colonies in other regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-444
Number of pages7
JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume98
Issue numberPart B
Early online date12 Apr 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2013

Keywords

  • tracking
  • marine birds
  • mid-ocean ridges
  • oceanic fronts
  • foraging behaviour
  • first-passage time
  • Northern fulmar

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