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Influence of oceanographic structures on foraging strategies: macaroni penguins at Crozet Islands


Bon, C and Della Penna, A and d'Ovidio, F and Arnould, JYP and Poupart, T and Bost, C-A, Influence of oceanographic structures on foraging strategies: macaroni penguins at Crozet Islands, Movement Ecology, 3 Article 32. ISSN 2051-3933 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1186/s40462-015-0057-2



In the open ocean, eddies and associated structures (fronts, filaments) have strong influences on the foraging activities of top-predators through the enhancement and the distribution of marine productivity, zooplankton and fish communities. Investigating how central place foragers, such as penguins, find and use these physical structures is crucial to better understanding their at-sea distribution. In the present study, we compared the travel heading and speed of the world’s most abundant penguin, the Macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus), with the distribution of surface physical structures (large-scale fronts, eddies and filaments).


The study was performed during December 2012 in the Crozet Archipelago (46.42° S; 51.86° E), South Indian Ocean. Six males at incubation stage were equipped with GPS loggers to get their trajectories. We used Eulerian and Lagrangian methods to locate large-scale fronts, mesoscale eddies (10–100 km) and part of the sub-mesoscale structures (<10 km, filaments) at the surface of the ocean. By comparing the positions of birds and these structures, we show that Macaroni penguins: i) target the sub Antarctic Front; ii) increase their foraging activity within a highly dynamic area, composed of eddy fields and filamentary structures; and iii) travel in the same direction as the predominant currents.


We show that penguins adjust their travel speed and movement during their whole trips in relation with the oceanographic structures visited. At a large scale, we hypothesize that Macaroni penguins target the sub Antarctic Front to find profitable patches of their main prey. At finer scale, Macaroni penguin may adopt a horizontal drifting behavior in strong currents, which could be a way to minimize costs of displacement.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:oceanography, foraging strategies, macaroni penguin, Crozet Island
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal behaviour
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Della Penna, A (Ms Alice Della Penna)
ID Code:121550
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-10-03
Last Modified:2017-11-09
Downloads:131 View Download Statistics

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