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Landfast ice: a major driver of reproductive success in a polar seabird

Citation

Labrousse, Sara et al. (2021), Landfast ice: a major driver of reproductive success in a polar seabird, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cnp5hqc47

Abstract

In a fast-changing world, polar ecosystems are threatened by climate variability. Understanding the roles of fine-scale processes, and linear and nonlinear effects of climate factors on the demography of polar species is crucial for anticipating the future state of these fragile ecosystems. While the effects of sea ice on polar marine top predators are increasingly being studied, little is known about the impacts of landfast ice (LFI) on this species community. Based on a unique 39-year time series of satellite imagery and in situ meteorological conditions and on the world's longest dataset of emperor penguin ( Aptenodytes forsteri ) breeding parameters, we studied the effects of fine-scale variability of LFI and weather conditions on this species' reproductive success. We found that longer distances to the LFI edge (i.e. foraging areas) negatively affected the overall breeding success but also the fledging success. Climate window analyses suggested that chick mortality was particularly sensitive to LFI variability between August and November. Snowfall in May also affected hatching success. Given the sensitivity of LFI to storms and changes in wind direction, important future repercussions on the breeding habitat of emperor penguins are to be expected in the context of climate change.

Funding

Australian Antarctic Division

Fondation BNP Paribas, Award: Project SENSEI

Australian Research Council's Special Research Initiative for Antarctic Gateway Partnership, Award: SR140300001

ExPé and IPEV program 109

Australian Government's Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative program

WHOI's postdoctoral scholar award

NSF, Award: 1643901

NSF, Award: 1744794