Isotopic values of Antarctic Krill in relation to foraging habitat of penguins
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- Isotopic values of Antarctic Krill in relation to foraging habitat of penguins
- Kokubun, Nobuo
- GPS tracking; Off-shelf; On-shelf; Phytoplankton; Stomach flushing
- Issue Date
- KOKUBUN, Nobuo., et al. 2014. Isotopic values of Antarctic Krill in relation to foraging habitat of penguins. Ornithol Sci 14: 13-20.
- Antarctic Krill Euphausia superba is a key component of the Antarctic
coastal marine ecosystem. Investigations into stable isotopic values of krill in predation
hotspots are important in facilitating our understanding of the feeding environments
of krill in a local coastal ecosystem. In this study we investigated stable
isotopic values and maturity and size composition of krill at a small spatial scale,
by logging GPS tracks of five Chinstrap Pygoscelis antarcticus and seven Gentoo P.
papua penguins, and analyzing their stomach contents. The study was conducted at a
penguin colony on Barton Peninsula, King George Island, Antarctica. The main food
item of both species was Antarctic Krill (>98% wet mass). One Chinstrap and four
Gentoo penguin foraging trips were classified as “on-shelf” trips, and four Chinstrap
and three Gentoo Penguin foraging trips were classified as “off-shelf” trips. Krill
collected from off-shelf trips had higher δ15N (4.22±0.28‰) values than those from
on-shelf trips (3.78±0.29‰). The δ13C of the krill samples did not differ between
the two penguin species or between trip types. The proportion of juvenile krill taken
was higher for Chinstrap (13.04±4.97%) than Gentoo penguins (3.33±2.43%). Our
results suggest that the main food source of the krill in our sample originated as non
benthic planktonic/suspended organic matter, and that krill in off-shelf habitat may
occasionally consume higher trophic level prey compared to those in on-shelf habitats.
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