Marine and terrestrial factors affecting Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae chick growth and recruitment off the western Antarctic Peninsula

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Abstract

An individual-based bioenergetics model that simulates the growth of an Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae chick from hatching to fledging was used to assess marine and terrestrial factors that affect chick growth and fledging mass off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Simulations considered the effects on Adélie penguin fledging mass of (1) modification of chick diet through the addition of Antarctic silverfish Pleuragramma antarcticum to an all-Antarctic krill Euphausia superba diet, (2) reduction of provisioning rate which may occur as a result of an environmental stress such as reduced prey availability, and (3) increased thermoregulatory costs due to wetting of chicks which may result from increased precipitation or snow-melt in colonies. Addition of 17% Antarctic silverfish of Age-Class 3 yr (AC3) to a penguin chick diet composed of Antarctic krill increased chick fledging mass by 5%. Environmental stress that results in >4% reduction in provisioning rate or wetting of just 10% of the chick's surface area decreased fledging mass enough to reduce the chick's probability of successful recruitment. The negative effects of reduced provisioning and wetting on chick growth can be compensated for by inclusion of Antarctic silverfish of AC3 and older in the chick diet. Results provide insight into climate-driven processes that influence chick growth and highlight a need for field research designed to investigate factors that determine the availability of AC3 and older Antarctic silverfish to foraging Adélie penguins and the influence of snowfall on chick wetting, thermoregulation and adult provisioning rate. © 2011 Inter-Research.

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Chapman, E. W., Hofmann, E. E., Patterson, D. L., Ribic, C. A., & Fraser, W. R. (2011). Marine and terrestrial factors affecting Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae chick growth and recruitment off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 436, 273–289. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09242

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