Ocean climate and prey availability affect the trophic level and reproductive success of the marbled murrelet, an endangered seabird

Downloaded 100 times.

Primary tabs

Becker, B. H., Peery, M. Z., & Beissinger, S. R. (2007). Ocean climate and prey availability affect the trophic level and reproductive success of the marbled murrelet, an endangered seabird. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 329, 267-279. doi:10.3354/meps329267
PDF
Metadata
TitleOcean climate and prey availability affect the trophic level and reproductive success of the marbled murrelet, an endangered seabird
AuthorsH. Becker, Z. Peery, R. Beissinger
AbstractWe investigated relationships between oceanographic processes, prey availability, diet and the reproductive success of the marbled murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus (Alcidae), a federally threatened seabird. We predicted that cooler ocean conditions (which increase primary productivity in this eastern boundary upwelling system) should result in heightened prey availability and hence higher reproductive success for the murrelet. We also expected that murrelet diets should reflect those potential prey species that are most abundant during any given season or year. Oceanographic conditions were considered at 2 spatial scales: synoptic (Northern Oscillation Index, NOI; Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index, PDO; the North Pacific Index, NPI), and local (upwelling index, UI; sea surface temperature, SST; strength of the spring turnover). To infer seasonal and annual variation in murrelet diets in central California, we used stable isotope analyses of δ 15N and δ 13C in murrelet feathers and prey tissues during the pre- and postbreeding seasons of 1998 to 2002. Isotopic signatures of 10 species of potential prey clustered into 3 distinct groups (low, mid and high trophic level seabird prey). During 1999 to 2001, when more krill (low trophic level prey) were available, murrelet δ 15N and trophic level were lower prior to breeding than after breeding, whereas pre- and postbreeding diets were similar during 1998 and 2002 when fewer krill were available. δ 13C was always lower in prebreeding than postbreeding diets, which tracked availability of 13C enriched juvenile rockfish and market squid. Diet did not differ by sex for either isotope. Murrelet productivity (juvenile:adult ratios) was positively correlated with both rockfish and krill abundance. PDO, NOI, UI, spring turnover strength and NPI indices were unrelated to murrelet productivity and to prey abundances. Murrelet productivity was also positively related to the proportion of mid trophic level prey in postbreeding diets, and thus negatively related to the proportion of low and high trophic level prey consumed. Furthermore, productivity was markedly higher following the apparent 1998 to 1999 PDO regime shift to cooler conditions. These data suggest that cooler local temperatures support increased availability of krill and juvenile rockfish to murrelets, and that this improves murrelet reproductive success. © Inter-Research 2007.
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Date2007
Volume329
Start page267
End page279
ISSN01718630
Subjectsabundance, dietary shift, endangered species, isotopic analysis, prey availability, reproductive success, sea surface temperature, seabird, stable isotope, temperature effect, temporal variation, trophic interaction, upwelling, California, North America, United States, Alcidae, Brachyramphus, Brachyramphus marmoratus, Cephalopoda, Decapoda (Crustacea), Euphausiacea
NoteCited By (since 1996):31, CODEN: MESED, Downloaded from: http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v329/p267-279/ (13 June 2014).

Bookmark

Bookmarks: