Predictive ethoinformatics reveals the complex migratory behaviour of a pelagic seabird, the Manx Shearwater

Robin Freeman, Ben Dean, Holly Kirk, Kerry Leonard, Richard A. Phillips, Chris M. Perrins, Tim Guilford

Abstract

Understanding the behaviour of animals in the wild is fundamental to conservation efforts. Advances in bio-logging technologies have offered insights into the behaviour of animals during foraging, migration and social interaction. However, broader application of these systems has been limited by device mass, cost and longevity. Here, we use information from multiple logger types to predict individual behaviour in a highly pelagic, migratory seabird, the Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus). Using behavioural states resolved from GPS tracking of foraging during the breeding season, we demonstrate that individual behaviours can be accurately predicted during multi-year migrations from low cost, lightweight, salt-water immersion devices. This reveals a complex pattern of migratory stopovers: some involving high proportions of foraging, and others of rest behaviour. We use this technique to examine three consecutive years of global migrations, revealing the prominence of foraging behaviour during migration and the importance of highly productive waters during migratory stopover.

  • Received March 27, 2013.
  • Accepted April 9, 2013.
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© 2013 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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