Stable isotope analyses of feather amino acids identify penguin migration strategies at ocean basin scales. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Identifying the at-sea distribution of wide-ranging marine predators is critical to understanding their ecology. Advances in electronic tracking devices and intrinsic biogeochemical markers have greatly improved our ability to track animal movements on ocean-wide scales. Here, we show that, in combination with direct tracking, stable carbon isotope analysis of essential amino acids in tail feathers provides the ability to track the movement patterns of two, wide-ranging penguin species over ocean basin scales. In addition, we use this isotopic approach across multiple breeding colonies in the Scotia Arc to evaluate migration trends at a regional scale that would be logistically challenging using direct tracking alone.

publication date

  • August 2017