Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 9, pp 1765–1780 | Cite as

Size matters: variation in the diet of chick and adult crested terns

  • Lachlan James McLeay
  • B. Page
  • S. D. Goldsworthy
  • T. M. Ward
  • D. C. Paton
Original Paper

Abstract

We investigated ontogenetic, temporal and spatial patterns in the composition and size of prey in the diet of crested terns, Sterna bergii. Diet analyses indicated that crested terns are a generalist predator on surface-schooling clupeids (Australian anchovy Engraulis australis, sardine Sardinops sagax and blue sprat Spratelloides robustus), Degens leatherjacket Thamnaconus degeni, southern sea garfish Hyporhamphus melanochir, Australian herring Arripis georgianus, slender bullseye Parapriacanthus elongatus and barracouta Thyrsites atun. Ontogenetic differences in prey size indicated that adults are constrained in their foraging behaviour during the early chick-provisioning period by the need to self feed and select smaller prey that can be ingested by their chicks. Chicks consumed significantly higher proportions of clupeids than adults, which consumed mainly Degens leatherjackets and barracouta, suggesting that adults may select higher quality prey for their chicks compared to what they consume themselves. Spatial differences in prey composition were driven by differing proportions of sardine, Australian anchovy and Degens leatherjacket and could reflect local differences in the abundances of these prey. The size of prey taxa consumed by adults also reflected a North–South gradient in prey size. The large component of juvenile sardine in the diet of crested terns suggests future dietary measures may inform fisheries managers about changes in local juvenile sardine abundance. These data could assist in highlighting any fishery-related decreases in sardine recruitment and help ensure commercial fishing practices address principals of Ecologically Sustainable Development developed for Australian fisheries.

Keywords

Prey Size Prey Taxon Individual Prey Chick Growth Small Pelagic Fish 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was principally supported through the Australian Government’s Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) Grants Scheme (PN 2005/031), co-funded by the South Australian Sardine Fishery. We also thank the South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage for financial assistance through the Wildlife Conservation Fund. All diet sampling and bird handling procedures were carried out under South Australian scientific research permit A24684. We thank volunteers A. Baylis, G. French, A. Ivey, T. Kemper, J. McKenzie, R. Mayo, G. McLeay, H. McLeay, L. K. McLeay, M. McLeay, A. Newman, J. Nichols, C. Platt, P. Rogers, and A. Wiebkin for their assistance during field operations, and C. and J. Johnson for providing logistical support and accommodation on Troubridge Island. We are grateful to A. Wiebkin, M. Steer and W. Dimmlich for providing data relating to prey regressions and P. Rogers and anonymous referees for useful comments that greatly improved the manuscript.

References

  1. Barrett RT, Camphuysen CJ, Anker-Nilssen T, Chardine JW, Furness RW, Garthe S, Huppop O, Leopold MF, Montevecchi WA, Veit RR (2007) Diet studies of seabirds: a review and recommendations. ICES J Mar Sci 64:1675–1691. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsm152 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blaber SJM, Wassenberg TJ (1989) Feeding ecology of the piscivorous birds Phalocrocorax varius, Phalocrocorax melanoleucos and Sterna bergii in Moreton Bay, Australia: diets and dependence on trawler discards. Mar Biol (Berl) 101:1–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00393473 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyd IL, Wanless S, Camphuysen CJ (2006) Introduction. In: Boyd IL, Wanless S, Camphuysen CJ (eds) Top predators in marine ecosystems. Cambridge University Press, pp 378Google Scholar
  4. Burger AE, Piatt JF (1990) Flexible time budgets in breeding common murres: buffers against variable prey abundance. Stud Avian Biol 14:71–83Google Scholar
  5. Cairns DK (1984) The foraging ecology of the black guillemot (Cepphus grylle) Ph.D. thesis, OntarioGoogle Scholar
  6. Cairns DK (1987) Seabirds as indicators of marine food supplies. Biol Oceanogr 5:261–271Google Scholar
  7. Catalan IA, Jimenez MT, Alconchel JI (2006) Spatial and temporal changes of coastal demersal assemblages in the Gulf of Cadiz (Spain) in relation to environmental conditions. Deep-sea research paper II, topical studies in oceanography 53:1402–1419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chiaradia A, Dann P, Jessop R, Collins P (2002) The diet of crested tern (Sterna bergii) chicks on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia. Emu 102:367–371. doi: https://doi.org/10.1071/MU02004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crawford RJM (2004) Accounting for food requirements of seabirds in fisheries management—the case of the South African purse-seine fishery. Ecosystem Approaches to fisheries in the southern Benguela. Afr J Mar Sci 26:197–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davoren GK, Burger AE (1999) Differences in prey selection and behaviour during self-feeding and chick provisioning in rhinoceros auklets. Anim Behav 58:853–863. doi: https://doi.org/10.1006/anbe.1999.1209 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dimmlich WF, Ward TM (2006) Ontogenetic shifts in the distribution and reproductive patterns of Australian anchovy (Engraulis australis) determined by otolith microstructure analysis. Mar Freshw Res 57:373–381. doi: https://doi.org/10.1071/MF05184 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Duffy DC, Jackson S (1986) Diet studies of seabirds: a review of methods. Colon Waterbirds 9:1–17. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/1521138 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fletcher WJ, Chesson J, Fisher M, Sainsbury KJ, Hundloe T, Smith ADM, Whitworth B (2002) National ESD reporting framework for Australian fisheries: The how to guide for wild capture fisheries. FRDC Project 2000/145, Canberra, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  14. Fowler AJ, McLeay LJ, Short DA (2000) Spatial variation in size and age structures and reproductive characteristics of the King George whiting (Percoidei: Sillaginidae) in South Australian waters. Mar Freshw Res 51:11–22. doi: https://doi.org/10.1071/MF99032 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frederiksen M, Wanless S, Harris MP, Rothery P, Wilson NJ (2004) The role of industrial fisheries and environmental change in the decline of North Sea black-legged kittiwakes. J Appl Ecol 41:1129–1139. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0021-8901.2004.00966.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Furlani D, Gales R, Pemberton D (2007) Otoliths of common Australian temperate fish: a photographic guide. CSIRO, Victoria, pp 208Google Scholar
  17. Furness RW, Tasker ML (2000) Seabird fishery interactions: quantifying the sensitivity of seabirds to reductions in sand eel abundance, and identification of key areas for sensitive seabirds in the North Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 202:253–264. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps202253 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gonzales-Solis J, Oro D, Pedrocchi V (1997) Bias associated with diet samples in Audouin’s gulls. Condor 99:773–779. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/1370488 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hall S, Mainprize B (2004) Towards ecosystem-based fishery management. Fish Fish 5:1–20. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-2960.2004.00133.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hislop JRG, Harris MP (1985) Recent changes in the food of young puffins Fratercula arctica on the Isle of May in relation to fish stocks. Ibis 127:234–239. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-919X.1985.tb05057.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hodum PJ, Hobsum KA (2000) Trophic relationships among Antarctic fulmarine petrels: insights into dietary overlap and chick provisioning strategies inferred from stable isotope (ä15 and ä13C) analyses. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 198:273–281. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps198273 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hulsman K, Langham NPE, Bluhdom D (1989) Factors affecting the diet of crested terns (Sterna bergii). Aust Wildl Res 16:478–489. doi: https://doi.org/10.1071/WR9890475 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. ICES (2000) Report of the working group on seabird ecology. International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Wilhelmshaven, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  24. ICES (2002) International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Cooperative Research Report 254. International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Copenhagen, DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  25. Jaquemet S, Potier M, Cherel Y, Kojadinovic J, Bustamante P, Richard P, Catry T, Ramos JA, Le Corre M (2008) Comparative feeding ecology and ecological niche of a superabundant tropical seabird: the sooty tern Sterna fuscata in the southwest Indian Ocean. Mar Biol (Berl) 155:505–520. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-008-1049-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Leopold MF, VanElk JF, VanHeezik YM (1996) Central place foraging in oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus: can parents that transport mussels Mytilus edulis to their young profit from size selection? Ardea 84A:311–325Google Scholar
  27. Lewis S, Wanless S, Wright PJ, Harris MP, Bull J, Elston DA (2001) Diet and breeding performance of black legged kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla at a North Sea colony. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 221:277–284. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps221277 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mahon T, Kaiser G, Burger AE (1992) The role of marbled murrelets in mixed-species feeding flocks in British Columbia. Wilson Bull 104:738–743Google Scholar
  29. McLeay LJ, Page B, Goldsworthy SD, Ward TM, Paton DC, Waterman M, Murray MD (2009) Demographic and morphological responses to prey depletion in a crested tern Sterna bergii population: can fish mortality events highlight performance indicators for fisheries management? ICES J Mar Sci 66:237–247. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsn195 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Monaghan P, Uttley JD, Okill JD (1989) Terns and sand eels: seabirds as indicators of changes in marine fish populations. J Fish Biol 35:339–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Montevecchi WA (1993) Birds as indicators of change in marine prey stocks. In: Furness RW, Greenwood JJD (eds) Birds as monitors of environmental change. Chapman and Hall, London, pp 217–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Montevecchi WA, Myers RA (1995) Prey harvests of seabirds reflect pelagic fish and squid abundance on multiple spatial and temporal scales. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 117:1–9. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps117001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Montevecchi WA, Myers RA (1996) Dietary changes of seabirds indicate shifts in pelagic food webs. Sarsia 80:313–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Montevecchi WA, Birt VL, Cairns DK (1987) Dietary shifts of seabirds associated with local fisheries failures. Biol Oceanogr 5:153–159Google Scholar
  35. Nettleship DN, Sanger GA, Springer PF (eds) (1982) Marine birds: their feeding ecology and commercial fisheries relationships. In: Proceedings of the Pacific seabird group symposium. Canadian wildlife service, Seattle, Washington, p 212Google Scholar
  36. Orians GH, Pearson NE (1979) On the theory of central place foraging. In: Horn OJ, Stairs BR, Mitchell RD (eds) Analysis of ecological systems. Ohio Sate University Press, Ohio, pp 155–177Google Scholar
  37. Pichegru L, Ryan PG, Van der Lingen CD, Coetzee J, Ropert-Coudert Y, Gremillet D (2007) Foraging behaviour of Cape gannets Morus capensis feeding on live prey and fishery discards in the Benguela upwelling system. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 350:127–136. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07128 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ramos JA, Encarnacion S, Monteiro LR (1998) Prey delivered to roseate tern chicks in the Azores. J Field Ornithol 69:419–429Google Scholar
  39. Schreiber EA, Burger J (2002) Biology of marine birds. CRC Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  40. Shanks S (2004) Ecological assessment of the South Australian pilchard fishery. PIRSA, AdelaideGoogle Scholar
  41. Shealer DA (1998) Size-selective predation by a specialist forager, the roseate tern. Auk 115:519–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Smith GC (1993) Feeding and breeding of crested terns at a tropical locality. Comparison with sympatric black-naped terns. Emu 93:65–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stienen EWM, Van Beers PWM, Brenninkmeijer A, Habrakan JM, Maaike PM, Raaijmakers E, Van Tienen PGM (2000) Reflections of a specialist: patterns in food provisioning and foraging conditions in sandwich terns Sterna sandvicensis. Ardea 88:33–49Google Scholar
  44. Surman CA, Wooler RD (2003) Comparative feeding ecology of five sympatric terns at a sub-tropical island in the eastern Indian Ocean. J Zool 259:219–230. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0952836902003047 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Swihart RK, Johnson SG (1986) Foraging decisions of American robins: somatic and reproductive tradeoffs. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 19:275–282. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00300642 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Velarde E, Ezcurra E, Cisneros-Mata MA, Lavin MF (2004) Seabird ecology, El Nino anomalies, and prediction of sardine fisheries in the Gulf of California. Ecol Appl 14:607–615. doi: https://doi.org/10.1890/02-5320 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Vermeer K, Sealy SG, Sanger GA (1987) Feeding ecology of the Alcidae in the eastern north Pacific Ocean. In: Croxall JP (ed) Seabirds: feeding ecology and their role in marine ecosystems. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 189–228Google Scholar
  48. Walter CB (1984) Fish prey remains in swift tern and Hartlaub’s gull pellets at Possession Island, off Namibia. Ostrich 58:49–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Walter CB, Cooper J, Suter W (1987) Diet of swift tern chicks in the Saldanha Bay Region, South Africa. Ostrich 58:49–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wanless S, Harris MP, Redman P, Speakman JR (2005) Low energy values of fish as a probable cause of breeding failure in the North Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 294:1–8. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps294001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ward TM, Ferguson G, Rogers PJ (2008) Australian Sardine (Sardinops sagax) Fishery. SARDI Aquatic Sciences, F2007/000765-2, AdelaideGoogle Scholar
  52. Weimerskirch H (1998) How can a pelagic seabird provision its chick when relying on a distant food resource? Cyclic attendance at the colony, foraging decision and body condition in sooty shearwaters. J Anim Ecol 67:99–109. doi: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2656.1998.00180.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lachlan James McLeay
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Page
    • 1
  • S. D. Goldsworthy
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. M. Ward
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. C. Paton
    • 2
  1. 1.Aquatic SciencesSouth Australian Research and Development InstituteHenley BeachAustralia
  2. 2.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations