Geolocator tracking seabird migration and moult reveal large‐scale temperature‐driven isoscapes in the NE Atlantic

Kelly Atkins, Stuart Bearhop, Thomas W. Bodey, W. James Grecian, Keith Hamer, Jorge M. Pereira, Hannah Meinertzhagen, Chris Mitchell, Greg Morgan, Lisa Morgan, Jason Newton, Richard B. Sherley, Stephen C. Votier

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Abstract

Rationale: By combining precision satellite‐tracking with blood sampling, seabirds can be used to validate marine carbon and nitrogen isoscapes, but it is unclear whether a comparable approach using low‐precision light‐level geolocators (GLS) and feather sampling can be similarly effective.

Methods: Here we used GLS to identify wintering areas of northern gannets (Morus bassanus) and sampled winter grown feathers (confirmed from image analysis of non‐breeding birds) to test for spatial gradients in δ13C and δ15N in the NE Atlantic.

Results: By matching winter‐grown feathers with the non‐breeding location of tracked birds we found latitudinal gradients in δ13C and δ15N in neritic waters. Moreover, isotopic patterns were best explained by sea surface temperature. Similar isotope gradients were found in fish muscle sampled at local ports.

Conclusions: Our study reveals the potential of using seabird GLS and feathers to reconstruct large‐scale isotopic patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9489
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Volume37
Issue number9
Early online date12 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry

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