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1 December 2008 Costly pre-laying behaviours and physiological expenditures by northern fulmars in the High Arctic
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Abstract

Petrels are a group of seabirds that undertake an exodus from their breeding colony just prior to egg-laying, purportedly to allow the female to acquire nutrients for egg synthesis from the local environment. We studied seasonal nutrient dynamics and at-nest behaviour of northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis), a petrel found in the Canadian High Arctic, to evaluate the importance of pre-laying nutrient reserves to annual breeding in this species. Females and males carried 35–50% more fat when they first arrived at the colony than when they returned from their pre-laying exodus to lay their egg or initiate incubation. Fulmars spent approximately 70% of their time at the nest engaged in energetically expensive behaviours (pair-bonding, digging out and defending their nest site) during the brief period from colony arrival to departure on their pre-laying exodus. In contrast, 70% of their time at the nest was spent resting during incubation. Both nutrient reserves and behavioural data suggest that High Arctic fulmars require large endogenous reserves prior to egg-laying to fuel their energetically costly activities during the arrival-to-exodus period.

Nomenclature: Hatch & Nettleship, 1998.

Mark L. Mallory and Mark R. Forbes "Costly pre-laying behaviours and physiological expenditures by northern fulmars in the High Arctic," Ecoscience 15(4), (1 December 2008). https://doi.org/10.2980/15-4-3187
Received: 25 March 2008; Accepted: 1 August 2008; Published: 1 December 2008
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