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Data from: Foraging behaviour and habitat-use drives niche segregation in sibling seabird species

Citation

Reisinger, Ryan et al. (2020), Data from: Foraging behaviour and habitat-use drives niche segregation in sibling seabird species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.31zcrjdj0

Abstract

To mediate competition, similar sympatric species are assumed to utilise different resources, or the same but geographically separated resources. The two giant petrels (Macronectes spp.) are intriguing in that they are morphologically similar seabirds with overlapping diets and distributions. To better understand the mechanisms allowing their co-existence, we investigated intra- and interspecific niche segregation at Marion Island (Southern Indian Ocean), one of the few localities where they breed in sympatry. We used GPS tracks from 94 individuals and remote-sensed environmental data to quantify habitat-use, combined with blood carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios from 90 individuals to characterise their foraging habitat and trophic ecology. Females of both species made distant at sea foraging trips and fed at a similar trophic level. However, they used distinct pelagic habitats. In contrast, males of both species mainly foraged on or near land, resulting in significant sexual segregation, but high interspecific habitat and diet overlap. However, some males showed flexible behavioural strategies, also making distant, pelagic foraging trips. Using contemporaneous tracking, environmental and stable isotope data we provide a clear example of how sympatric sibling species can be segregated along different foraging behaviour dimensions.

Funding

National Research Foundation: South African National Antarctic Program, Award: SNA93071

National Research Foundation: South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research, Award: 94916

National Research Foundation: South African National Antarctic Program, Award: SNA93071