Survival of tropical Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) from the western Indian Ocean was modeled using a capture-mark-recapture dataset of 102 breeding adults ringed and resighted on Aride Island, Seychelles, from 2002 to 2007. The effect of covariates reflecting oceanographic conditions and resighting effort was also examined during the modeling. A time-invariant survival rate was best supported by our data, with annual adult survival estimated at 0.807 ± 0.033 (SE). Resighting probability was found to be influenced by sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies, as expressed by the mean Indian Ocean Dipole mode index recorded during the nonbreeding period. Years of higher SST in the western part of the Indian Ocean in September-April (8 months) corresponded to a lower probability of resighting adults at the colony during the breeding season (May-August), which may be related to a tendency for some adults to refrain from breeding in less favorable years. Comparing our results with temperate studies, Roseate Terns breeding on Aride were found to exhibit similar survival estimates. Consequently, this study does not support the hypothesis that tropical Roseate Terns may counterbalance their lower fecundity (clutch size and breeding success) compared to their temperate and northern-hemisphere counterparts (Europe, North America, Caribbean) by relatively higher survival rates.
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Vol. 31 • No. 3