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Geographic, temporal and individual factors influencing foraging behaviour and consistency in Australasian gannets

Citation

Arnould, John; Camprasse, Elodie; Angel, Lauren; Rodríguez-Malagón, Marlenne (2020), Geographic, temporal and individual factors influencing foraging behaviour and consistency in Australasian gannets, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9p8cz8wbt

Abstract

Foraging is a behaviour that can be influenced by multiple factors and is highly plastic. Recent studies have shown consistency in individual foraging behaviour has serious ecological and evolutionary implications within species and populations. Such information is crucial to understand how species select habitats, and how such selection might allow them to adapt to the environmental changes they face. Five foraging metrics (maximum distance from the colony, bearing from the colony to the most distal point, tortuosity index, total number of dives and mean Vectorial Dynamic Body Acceleration were obtained using GPS tracking and accelerometry data in adult Australasian gannets (Morus serrator) from two colonies in south-eastern Australia. Individuals were instrumented over two breeding seasons to obtain data to assess factors influencing foraging behaviour and behavioural consistency over multiple timescales (consecutive trips, breeding stages and years) and habitats (pelagic, mixed pelagic and inshore, and inshore). Colony, breeding stage and year were the factors which had the greatest influence on foraging behaviour, followed by sex. Behavioural consistency, measured as the contribution of the individual to the observed variance, was low to moderate for all foraging metrics (0.0 to 27.05%), with the higher values occurring over shorter timescales. In addition, behavioural consistency was driven by spatio-temporal factors rather than intrinsic characteristics. Behavioural consistency was higher in individuals foraging in inshore than pelagic habitats or mixed pelagic/inshore strategy, supporting suggestions that consistency is favoured in stable environments.