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Chinstrap and macaroni penguin diet and demography at Nyrøysa, Bouvetøya

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 November 2015

Corne Niemandt
Affiliation:
Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, Pretoria, South Africa
Kit M. Kovacs
Affiliation:
Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
Christian Lydersen
Affiliation:
Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
Bruce M. Dyer
Affiliation:
Oceans & Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs, Private Bag X2, Roggebaai 8012, South Africa
Kjell Isaksen
Affiliation:
Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway Present address: Vossegata 16 B, 0475 Oslo, Norway
G.J. Greg Hofmeyr
Affiliation:
Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, Pretoria, South Africa Present address: Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld, Humewood 6013, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Fridtjof Mehlum
Affiliation:
Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, 0318 Oslo, Norway
P.J. Nico de Bruyn
Affiliation:
Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, Pretoria, South Africa
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Knowledge regarding interactions between predators and their prey is fundamental for understanding underlying links between climate change and ecosystem responses, including predator demographics, in the Southern Ocean. This study reports data on reproductive performance, total population size and diet composition for macaroni and chinstrap penguins breeding at Nyrøysa on Bouvetøya during the summers of 1996–97, 1998–99, 2000–01 and 2007–08. The breeding populations of these two species at Nyrøysa decreased significantly over the study period, with an 80% decline for chinstraps and a 50% decline for macaroni penguins, despite relatively high levels of chick production. During this period macaroni penguins at this site ate a diverse diet, dominated by myctophid fish and two krill species, whereas chinstrap penguins were Antarctic krill specialists. The population changes are probably primarily due to the expanding Antarctic fur seal population, and also to landslides that are the result of increased melting on the island which have destroyed penguin breeding sites. Additional impacts from global warming of the ocean might also be playing a role and could exacerbate the decline in these penguin populations if krill and other prey are negatively impacted in the future in this region. The local chinstrap penguin population would probably be most heavily affected given its narrow feeding niche and small current population size.

Type
Biological Sciences
Copyright
© Antarctic Science Ltd 2015 

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