A tropical bird in the Artic (The Cormorant paradox)

Gremillet, David, Wilson, Rory P., Wanless, Sarah and Peters, Gerrit (1999) A tropical bird in the Artic (The Cormorant paradox) Marine Ecology Progress Series, 188 . pp. 305-309. DOI 10.3354/meps188305.

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Seabirds, like all marine endotherms, have to compensate for the extensive cooling effect of water when diving. Alone among them, cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae) have a wettable plumage and are predicted to require disproportionately large amounts of food to balance heat losses. These piscivorous birds are thus thought to have a detrimental impact on fish stocks. However, we show here that even in great cormorants from Greenland, which dive in water at 3 to 7°C, daily food intake is lower than for well-insulated European seabirds. Despite their wettable plumage, cormorants thus appear to manage their energy budgets in a remarkably efficient way. Nevertheless, the specific foraging strategies which enable this performance make cormorants dependent on high prey density areas, a feature that should be taken into account by future management plans.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Diving endotherms; Cormorants; Insulation; Food requirements; Prey
Research affiliation: OceanRep > Institute for Marine Science Kiel
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.3354/meps188305
ISSN: 0171-8630
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:24
Last Modified: 08 May 2018 12:31
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/5470

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