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Behaviour and breeding success of gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua in areas of low and high human activity

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Holmes, ND and Giese, MA and Achurch, H and Robinson, S and Kriwoken, L (2006) Behaviour and breeding success of gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua in areas of low and high human activity. Polar Biology, 29 (5). pp. 399-412. ISSN 0722-4060

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Abstract

A key factor influencing wildlife responses to
human activity is the degree to which animals have been
previously exposed to human stimuli. On subantarctic
Macquarie Island, gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua
breed in areas of high and low human activity (on and
off-station, respectively). We investigated the behaviour
and breeding success of gentoo penguins on and offstation,
by a) comparing the behavioural responses of
guarding gentoos before, during and after exposure to
standardised pedestrian approaches, and b) employing
an observational study to determine how human activity
may have contributed to within-season breeding success
in light of other environmental and site variables.
Behavioural responses to pedestrian visitation by
gentoos off-station were significantly stronger than those
of birds breeding on-station. However, no relationship
was found between pedestrian activity and breeding
success off-station. Breeding success was, however,
positively related to colony size, and negatively related
to the activity of other penguins, the number of nearby
southern elephant seal Mirounga leonina harems and the
location of colonies within short grassland. On-station,
breeding success was amongst the highest recorded for
that season. Habituation, predator exclusion and the
relevance of these findings for management are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: gentoo penguins, Pygoscelis papua, Macquarie Island, human activity, behaviour, breeding success
Journal or Publication Title: Polar Biology
Page Range: pp. 399-412
ISSN: 0722-4060
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1007/s00300-005-0070-9
Additional Information:

The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com

Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2008 03:19
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:27
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