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Effects of colony location and nekton abundance on the at-sea distribution of four seabird species

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Although seabirds are locally superabundant in the vicinity of breeding colonies, abundance farther offshore is patchy in both space and time. The present study examines the fine-scale (i.e. 1 km unit) distribution and abundance of four seabird species as a function of distance from a breeding colony (for three of the four species) and nekton density determined hydroacoustically. We found that density of the breeding species was significantly associated with nekton density, after controlling for island effects. In addition, nekton density associated with foraging aggregations of seabirds was significantly higher than that under resting aggregations. These results provide some of the clearest evidence of seabird-nekton association, albeit on an extremely close spatial scale.

Keywords: common murre; glaucous-winged gull; hydroacoustics; nekton; rhinoceros auklet; sooty shearwater

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Zoology Department, Box 351800; University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA 98195 ( 2: Washington Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Marine Resources Division, 1702-4 Anderson Rd, Mt Vernon, Washington, USA 98273 3: Zoology Department, Box 351800, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA 98195

Publication date: July 1, 1998

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