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Data from: Large-scale assessment of intra- and inter-annual breeding success using a remote camera network

Citation

Youngflesh, Casey et al. (2020), Data from: Large-scale assessment of intra- and inter-annual breeding success using a remote camera network, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5068/D1MX0Z

Abstract

Changes in the physical environment along the Antarctic Peninsula have been among the most rapid anywhere on the planet. In concert with environmental change, the potential for direct human disturbance resulting from tourism, scientific programs, and commercial fisheries continues to rise in the region. While seabirds, such as the gentoo penguin Pygoscelis papua, are commonly used to assess the impact of these disturbances on natural systems, research efforts are often hampered by limited spatial coverage and lack of temporal resolution. Using a large‐scale remote time‐lapse camera network and a modeling framework adapted from capture‐recapture studies, we assess drivers of intra‐ and inter‐annual dynamics in gentoo penguin breeding success across nearly the entire species’ range in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. We quantify the precise timing of egg/chick mortality within each season and examine the role of precipitation events, tourism visitation, and fishing activity for Antarctic krill Euphausia superba (a principal prey resource in the Antarctic) in these processes. We find that nest failure rates are higher in the egg than the chick stage and that neither krill fishing nor tourism visitation had a strong effect on gentoo penguin breeding success. While precipitation events had, on average, little effect on nest mortality, results suggest that extreme weather events can precipitate sharp increases in nest failure. This study highlights the importance of continuous ecosystem monitoring, facilitated here by remote time‐lapse cameras, in understanding ecological responses to environmental stressors, particularly with regard to the timing of events such as extreme weather.

Methods

See Usage Notes, README, and associated publication.

Usage Notes

This dataset contains all files to produce analyses presented in the associated manuscript, with the exception of the tourism data, which is available upon request from IAATO (https://iaato.org/). The code associated with these data can be found here: https://github.com/Penguin-Watch/penguin_watch_model. Data include the number of gentoo penguin chicks observed at individual nests for a number of time points over the course of the breeding season at breeding colonies across the Southern Ocean region. These data were obtained from annotations of images obtained from a remote time-lapse camera network. Precipitation data, obtained from annotations of camera images, are also included. .shp files and data on krill catch used in analyses are also included, but were obtained from existing sources. See metadata README file and associated publication for detailed information.