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1 May 2010 Abdominally Implanted Transmitters with Percutaneous Antennas Affect the Dive Performance of Common Eiders
Christopher J. Latty, Tuula E. Hollmén, Margaret R. Petersen, Abby N. Powell, Russel D. Andrews
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Abstract

Implanted transmitters have become an important tool for studying the ecology of sea ducks, but their effects remain largely undocumented. To address this, we assessed how abdominally implanted transmitters with percutaneous antennas affect the vertical dive speeds, stroke frequencies, bottom time, and dive duration of captive Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima). To establish baselines, we recorded video of six birds diving 4.9 m prior to surgery, implanted them with 38- to 47-g platform transmitter terminals, and then recorded their diving for 3.5 months after surgery to determine effects. Descent speeds were 16–25% slower and ascent speeds were 17–44% slower after surgery, and both remained below baseline at the end of the study. Dive durations were longer than baseline until day 22. On most days between 15 and 107 days after surgery, foot-stroke frequencies of birds foraging on the bottom were slower. Foot- and wing-stroke frequencies during descent and bottom time did not differ across the time series. If birds that rely on benthic invertebrates for sustenance dive slower and stay submerged longer after being implanted with a satellite transmitter, their foraging energetics may be affected. Researchers considering use of implanted transmitters with percutaneous antennas should be mindful of these effects and the possibility of concomitant alterations in diving behavior, foraging success, and migratory behavior compared to those of unmarked conspecifics.

©2010 by The Cooper Ornithological Society. All rights reserved, Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website, http://www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintlnfo.asp.
Christopher J. Latty, Tuula E. Hollmén, Margaret R. Petersen, Abby N. Powell, and Russel D. Andrews "Abdominally Implanted Transmitters with Percutaneous Antennas Affect the Dive Performance of Common Eiders," The Condor 112(2), 314-322, (1 May 2010). https://doi.org/10.1525/cond.2010.090022
Received: 2 February 2009; Accepted: 1 November 2009; Published: 1 May 2010
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