Predictive ethoinformatics reveals the complex migratory behaviour of a pelagic seabird, the Manx Shearwater

Robin Freeman, Ben Dean, Holly Kirk, Kerry Leonard, Richard A Phillips, Chris M Perrins, and Tim Guilford

Abstract

Understanding the behaviour of animals in the wild is fundamental to conservation efforts. Advances in bio-logging technologies have offered insights into the behaviour of animals during foraging, migration and social interaction. However, broader application of these systems has been limited by device mass, cost and longevity. Here, we use information from multiple logger types to predict individual behaviour in a highly pelagic, migratory seabird, the Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus). Using behavioural states resolved from GPS tracking of foraging during the breeding season, we demonstrate that individual behaviours can be accurately predicted during multi-year migrations from low cost, lightweight, salt-water immersion devices. This reveals a complex pattern of migratory stopovers: some involving high proportions of foraging, and others of rest behaviour. We use this technique to examine three consecutive years of global migrations, revealing the prominence of foraging behaviour during migration and the importance of highly productive waters during migratory stopover.

Details

Publication typeArticle
Published inJournal of the Royal Society Interface
URLhttp://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/10/84/20130279.short
PublisherRoyal Society

Previous versions

M.C. Vanderwel, J.R. Malcolm, and S.C. Mills. A meta-analysis of bird responses to uniform partial harvesting across North America, Conservation Biology, 2007.

Tomasz Naumowicz, Robin Freeman, Andreas Heil, Martin Calsyn, Eric Hellmich, Alexander Brändle, Tim Guilford, and Jochen Schiller. Autonomous Monitoring of Vulnerable Habitats using a Wireless Sensor Network, January 2008.

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T Guilford, J Meade, R Freeman, T Evans, F Bonadonna, D Boyle, and C M Perrins. GPS tracking of the foraging movements of Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus breeding on Skomer Island, Wales., Ibis, January 2008.

Robin Freeman, R Mann, T Guilford, and D Biro. Group decisions and individual differences: route fidelity predicts flight leadership in homing pigeons (Columba livia), Biology Letters, The Royal Society, September 2010.

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T. Guilford, J. Meade, J. Willis, R.A. Phillips, D. Boyle, S. Roberts, M. Collett, R. Freeman, and C.M. Perrins. Migration and stopover in a small pelagic seabird, the Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus: insights from machine learning, Proc. Roy. Soc. London Ser. B, 2009.

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