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

Abstract : 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 eflects 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.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - 11:00:08 AM
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Marie Frandsen, Jérôme Fort, Frank Rigét, Anders Galatius, Anders Mosbech. Composition of chick meals from one of the main little auk (Alle alle) breeding colonies in Northwest Greenland. Polar Biology, Springer Verlag, 2014, 37 (7), pp.1055-1060. ⟨10.1007/s00300-014-1491-0⟩. ⟨hal-01100258⟩



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