Foraging behaviour of little penguins Eudyptula minor in an artificially modified environment

  • Preston T
  • Ropert-Coudert Y
  • Kato A
 et al. 
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We investigated the 3-dimensional foraging behaviour of little penguins Eudyptula minor breeding on an artificially constructed breakwater near dredged shipping channels in Port Phillip Bay, southern Australia. Breeding penguins were fitted with either satellite trackers or time-depth recorders during the 2006–2007 breeding season to record foraging locations and diving behaviour, which were then compared with local bathymetry. Diving appeared to be both mid-water and demersal, and on 1 d trips penguins reached a mean maximum distance from the colony of 13.8 km. Penguins were recorded in locations containing artificially constructed shipping channels, and examination of their diving profiles suggests that they probably forage within these channels. Little penguins at this urban colony have benefited from anthropogenic alterations in the terrestrial environment, but their location exposes them to many potential anthropogenic threats in their marine environment, including a large-scale dredging operation to deepen the existing shipping channels.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anthropogenic
  • Dive
  • Dredge
  • Eudyptula minor
  • Foraging
  • Satellite

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