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Nutrient allocation for egg production in six Atlantic seabirds

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Abstract:

How species allocate nutrients to egg production is an important question in contaminant analyses. Seabird eggs are sampled frequently in such studies, so it is important to know the source of nutrients in these eggs if the source of the contaminants is to be traced. We used a stable-isotope approach to evaluate the relative importance of locally derived nutrients (income breeding) and stored nutrient reserves (capital breeding) in six species of Atlantic seabirds (Arctic Tern, Sterna paradisaea Pontoppidan, 1763; Common Tern, Sterna hirundo L., 1758; Atlantic Puffin, Fratercula arctica (L., 1758); Common Murre, Uria aalge (Pontoppidan, 1763); Razorbill, Alca torda L., 1758; Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Oceanodroma leucorhoa (Vieillot, 1818)) breeding in the Bay of Fundy. We found that all species either were income breeders or adopted an intermediate strategy whereby varying proportions of locally derived nutrients were incorporated into eggs. Each species’ migratory behaviour is likely a main factor in determining the amount of endogenous nutrients used in egg formation.

La façon dont les espèces affectent les nutriments à la production d’œufs est une question importante lors de l’analyse des contaminants. Comme on prélève souvent des œufs d’oiseaux marins pour de telles études, il est nécessaire de connaître l’origine des nutriments dans ces œufs afin de retracer la source des contaminants. Nous utilisons une méthodologie à base d’isotopes stables afin d’évaluer l’importance relative des nutriments obtenus localement (reproduction à partir des ressources courantes) et des nutriments accumulés (reproduction à partir des réserves) chez six oiseaux marins de l’Atlantique (le sterne arctique, Sterna paradisaea Pontoppidan, 1763; le sterne pierregarin, Sterna hirundo L., 1758; le macareux moine, Fratercula arctica (L., 1758); le guillemot marmette, Uria aalge (Pontoppidan, 1763); le petit pingouin, Alca torda L., 1758; l’océanite minute, Oceanodroma leucorhoa (Vieillot, 1818)) qui se reproduisent dans la baie de Fundy. Toutes les espèces ou bien se reproduisent à partir des leurs ressources courantes ou alors adoptent une stratégie intermédiaire dans laquelle des proportions variables de nutriments d’origine locale sont incorporées dans les œufs. Le comportement migrateur de chacune des espèces est vraisemblablement un facteur majeur dans la détermination de la quantité de nutriments endogènes utilisée dans la formation des œufs.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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