Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) parent-offspring behaviour and condition under varying nutritional constraints

Rector, Megan E. (2011) Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) parent-offspring behaviour and condition under varying nutritional constraints. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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During the breeding season, environmental conditions can affect parental behaviour, offspring growth and survival, and the role of both parties during parent-offspring conflict. I explored the effects of environmental conditions on Atlantic puffins during the breeding season by taking advantage of yearly differences in foraging conditions and by experimentally manipulating chick diet. Chick diet and growth as well as adult stress hormones were all affected by changes in the abundance of capelin, the primary prey species of chick-provisioning puffins in the Northwest Atlantic. Chick growth was lower during poor foraging conditions as expected; however, adult stress hormones were also lower during poor foraging conditions contrary to previous findings linking low prey availability with high stress levels. Chicks fed a supplementary diet also showed an increase in mass gain rate as well as an increase in survival, while supplementary feeding had no effect on chick stress hormones. Video recordings of chicks and adults within their nesting burrows were used to examine the effects of chick condition and begging on adult provisioning behaviour. Two types of begging calls were recorded and begging was associated with poor chick condition as well as current adult provisioning behaviour. Adults did not respond to changes in begging behaviour. Use of begging calls is interpreted in the context of honest signaling models and the role of environmental conditions in the control held by adults and chicks during parent-offspring conflict is discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9503
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology
Date: 2011
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Atlantic Ocean
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Atlantic puffin--Nutrition--Requirements--Atlantic Ocean, Northwest; Sea bird chicks--Nutrition--Requirements--Atlantic Ocean, Northwest; Atlantic puffin--Behavior--Atlantic Ocean, Northwest; Parental behavior in animals--Atlantic Ocean, Northwest

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