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Environmental variability and fledging body mass of Common Guillemot Uria aalge chicks
Barrett, R.T. & Erikstad, K.E. (2013) Marine Biology 160(5):1239-1248
Abstract
To gain a better understanding of population processes and in the light of the critically endangered status of the Common Guillemot Uria aalge in Norway, we investigate which environmental factors might affect the fitness of guillemot chicks as they depart from the nest site over a 16-year period on a colony in NE Norway. Although prey composition did not seem to influence the fledging body mass of the chicks, there were significant relationships between the yearly variations in chick body mass and abundance of two important prey species (1-group herring Clupea harengus that is an important chick food item and 0-group cod Gadus morhua that is an important adult food item), population size and the sea surface temperature around the colony. The positive influence of young herring and cod on Common Guillemot chick mass occurred during a period of warming in the Barents Sea such that future recruitment into the population will depend partly on the long-term changes in ocean climate in the region.


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