Foraging patterns of albatrosses in the South Atlantic: new research published

Tracking data obtained from four species of albatrosses undertaking foraging flights in the South Atlantic show that the species studied took account of environmental conditions, such as wind speed and direction.  However, unlike in several other studies conducted in the southern Indian Ocean, no good evidence of dual foraging behaviour by breeding adults (alternating long and short provisioning trips while rearing chicks) was obtained.

The species studied were Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans, Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris, Grey-headed Albatross T. chrysostoma and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata.

The research was conducted by Richard Phillips and Ewan Wakefield of the British Antarctic Survey, along with colleagues at the Universities of St Andrews (Scotland) and Shizuoka and Tokyo (Japan), and has been recently published in the journals Ecological Monographs and Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Click here for a related publication.


Phillips, R.A., Wakefield, E.D., Croxall, J.P., Fukuda, A. & Higuchi, H. 2009.  Albatross foraging behaviour: no evidence for dual foraging, and limited support for anticipatory regulation of provisioning at South Georgia.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 391: 279-292.

Wakefield, E.D., Phillips, R.A., Matthiopoulos, J., Fukuda, A., Higuchi, H, Marshall, G,J. & Trathan, P.N. 2009.  Wind field and sex constrain the flight speeds of central-place foragers.  Ecological Monographs 79: 663-679.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 5 January 2009

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