Growth Energetics of Nestling Northern Gannets (Sula bassanus)

Montevecchi, William A. and Ricklefs, R. E. and Kirkham, I. R. and Gabaldon, D. (1984) Growth Energetics of Nestling Northern Gannets (Sula bassanus). Auk, 101 (2). pp. 334-341. ISSN 1938-4254

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We describe the energetics of postnatal growth and development of wild and captive Northern Gannet chicks. For 14 chicks 0-9 weeks old, a 24-week immature, and a breeding female, we determined water, lipid, and nonlipid content. During the 13-week nestling period, mass increased over 40-fold. Accumulation of lipid caused the energy density of chicks to increase steadily through 9 weeks. Lipid eventually accounted for about 60% of energy in tissues. Two captive chicks grew at rates comparable to wild young and consumed, on average, about 24 kg of fish containing 190,000 kJ during the nestling period. The energy density of chick guano was 13.3 ± 0.8 kJ/g. Estimated metabolizable energy (ME) rose rapidly from 952 kJ during week 1 to 19,318 kJ during week 6, after which ME fluctuated between about 9,000 and 16,400 kJ/week. During week 1, the growth increment (GI) was 801 kJ; GI increased sharply to 9,667 kJ during week 4 and peaked at 12,711 kJ in week 7. Net growth efficiency was 49% to 8 weeks of age and 33% to fledging at 13 weeks. The food requirement of the gannet population of Newfoundland is estimated.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 1983
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: April 1984
Date Type: Publication
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