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Seabirds as food for thought: An integrative study on seabird ecology and ecosystem services in changing marine systems
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The importance of the benefits that humans obtain from the oceans is increasingly recognized, along with the rapid decline in marine resources that threatens these benefits. Studying seabirds – top predators in marine ecosystems, can provide insights about multiple pressures and the state of the oceans. The thesis links studies of seabirds through the lens of ecosystem services with an ecological case study. Paper I reviews ecosystem services, finding that seabirds contribute to provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural services. Seabirds serve as mobile links in marine and terrestrial ecosystems, through regulating and supporting services. Further, scientific knowledge and indicators based on seabirds can be seen as an ecosystem service as they facilitate management. Papers II-IV proceed to build such knowledge about the importance of food quality and quantity for breeding seabirds, in particular common murres Uria aalge in the Baltic Sea. Here, there is a negative relationship between quantity (sprat Sprattus sprattus abundance) and quality (sprat weight-at-age). Quality, but not quantity, was positively related to common murre fledging success while parental foraging trips had shorter duration when quantity was higher, but showed no relationship with food quality (paper II). Paper III describes foraging behaviour of adults and found indications of good foraging conditions at sea. Parents made efforts to adjust provisioning of food according to the needs of the chicks (paper IV), but the adjustments did not seem to be enough to counteract the impact of lower food quality. Paper V explores ecosystem services obtained from seabirds over time identifying a shift from provisioning to cultural services, where current cultural services are often connected. The integration of ecosystem services with seabird ecology shows that seabirds are illustrative of changes in marine resources and provide ways to help people reconnect with the health of marine systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University , 2014. , 44 p.
Keyword [en]
seabirds, ecosystem services, social-ecological systems, marine systems, fisheries, foraging ecology, provisioning behaviour, common murre, common guillemot, Uria aalge, Stora Karlsö, Baltic Sea
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108420ISBN: 978-91-7649-035-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-108420DiVA: diva2:757905
Public defence
2014-11-28, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 4: Submitted. Paper 5: Manuscript.

 

Available from: 2014-11-06 Created: 2014-10-23 Last updated: 2017-03-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Benefits from seabirds - a review of ecosystem services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Benefits from seabirds - a review of ecosystem services
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107859 (URN)
Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-09-30 Last updated: 2014-10-23
2. Contrasting effects of food quality and quantity on a marine top predator
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contrasting effects of food quality and quantity on a marine top predator
2012 (English)In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, ISSN 0171-8630, E-ISSN 1616-1599, Vol. 444, 239-249 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Overfishing of predatory fish has contributed to an increase in forage-fish stocks. At the same time, a rising demand for forage fish to supply fishmeal markets, in combination with ­climate change, has put strong pressure on these stocks, and this, in turn, has had an impact on marine top predators. We examined how inter-annual variation in food quality (sprat Sprattus sprattus weight-at-age) and quantity (sprat abundance) influenced Baltic Sea common murres Uria aalge during chick-rearing. Fledging success, i.e. survival from hatching to fledging, showed a positive relationship with food quality, but we found no effect of food quantity. We found no relationship between food quality and parental behaviour or chick feeding parameters, but a negative relationship between food quantity and trip duration. Our data indicate that there was room for parental birds to increase their effort to compensate for reduced food quality, but we found no signs of such compensation. We analysed different types of fish and seabird life-history data to separate effects of food quantity and quality on a top predator. Understanding such effects can contribute to clarifying causes and consequences for observed changes in life-history parameters and population dynamics of top predators.

Keyword
Junk food, Trophic cascades, Ecosystem approach, Environmental change, Climate change, Alcidae, Common guillemot
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-70425 (URN)10.3354/meps09417 (DOI)000298970900017 ()
Note

4

Available from: 2012-01-20 Created: 2012-01-20 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
3. Foraging behaviour of common murres in the Baltic Sea, recorded by simultaneous attachment of GPS and time-depth recorder devices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Foraging behaviour of common murres in the Baltic Sea, recorded by simultaneous attachment of GPS and time-depth recorder devices
2013 (English)In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, ISSN 0171-8630, E-ISSN 1616-1599, Vol. 475, 277-+ p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Global positioning system and time-depth recorders were deployed in combination to investigate the foraging behaviour of common murres Uria aalge breeding at Stora Karlso Island, Baltic Sea, during the chick-rearing period. In the pre-breeding period the main prey species of murres, sprat Sprattus sprattus, is targeted by commercial fisheries, likely reducing prey availability during the breeding season. Foraging trips typically consisted of a short flight followed by a period sitting on the sea surface (0.39 +/- 0.48 h), followed by several (5.3 +/- 3.8) diving bouts interspersed by flights and water surface activity. Following the final diving bout, murres returned directly to the colony. Overnight foraging trips lasted longer than daytime trips, and that result corresponded with greater diving activity and reduced dive depths around dawn and dusk, likely times of high prey accessibility. High outward flight groundspeeds (20.0 +/- 2.8 m s(-1)) were aided by tailwinds, and lower inward flight groundspeeds (15.1 +/- 2.5 m s(-1)) were impeded by headwinds. Flights following the wind direction may reflect a strategy to reduce crosswind drift. Foraging intensity was lower than reported by most other studies of murres, suggesting more abundant or aggregated prey.

Keyword
Foraging behaviour, Diving behaviour, Uria aalge, Common murre, Wildlife telemetry, Data loggers, Baltic Sea
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Biological Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88754 (URN)10.3354/meps10125 (DOI)000314935000021 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 621-2007-5930Swedish Research Council, 621-2010-5584Swedish Research Council, 349-2007-8690Formas
Note

AuthorCount:4;

Available from: 2013-03-26 Created: 2013-03-26 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. Common Guillemot Uria aalge parents adjust provisioning rates to compensate for low food quality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Common Guillemot Uria aalge parents adjust provisioning rates to compensate for low food quality
Show others...
2016 (English)In: Ibis, ISSN 0019-1019, E-ISSN 1474-919X, Vol. 158, no 1, 167-178 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The quantity and quality of food available within the foraging area set important constraints for chick-rearing birds, but responses to low quality are not well understood. This study explored the potential for parent birds to adjust quantity (feeding rate) and quality (energy content) in chick provisioning, by studying Common Guillemots Uria aalge on Stora Karlso, Baltic Sea, predominantly utilizing Sprat Sprattus sprattus, during conditions of high food quantity but reduced food quality. Quality is central to reproductive success in this single-prey loader. From the chick's perspective, provisioning rates should be increased to compensate for low food quality and to fulfil its growing needs with increasing age. However, the high energy cost of flying in Guillemots makes it important for parent birds to minimize commutes to feeding areas. Provisioning parameters were recorded during three dawn-to-dusk watches each breeding season from 2005 to 2013, when clupeids, presumably Sprat, constituted 98% of chick diet. Generalized additive mixed models showed that both feeding rate and size of clupeids (a proxy for energy content) varied between years and changed non-linearly with chick age, but that there was no change within breeding seasons. Chick age and year explained 36% of the variation in feeding rate but only 2% of the variation in the size of clupeids in chick diets. We conclude that parent birds tried to adjust both feeding rate and prey size, but were less successful with the latter. A strong negative correlation was found between annual feeding rates and size of clupeids, evaluated as the differences relative to the baseline year, and adjusted for the effects of chick age. Although the differences between years were small, the relationship indicates a compensation mechanism that does not seem to impact adult survival, and by which increased feeding rates can partly counteract reduced chick energy intake when food quality is low.

Keyword
alcids, Common Murre, offspring provisioning, seabirds
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127289 (URN)10.1111/ibi.12335 (DOI)000368727700015 ()
Available from: 2016-06-28 Created: 2016-03-01 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved
5. Seabirds and changes in ecosystem services – from exploitation to stewardship
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Seabirds and changes in ecosystem services – from exploitation to stewardship
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
Ecosystem services, seabirds, ocean governance, stewardship, marine resources, transition
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107860 (URN)
Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-09-30 Last updated: 2014-10-23

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