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Energy intake rate influences survival of Black Oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani broods

September 29, 2019

Black Oystercatchers Haematopus bachmani, a species of conservation concern, depend on marine intertidal prey resources. We examined diet, feeding rates, growth, and survival of Black Oystercatcher broods in southcentral Alaska, 2013-2014. To determine the importance of diet on brood survival, we modeled daily survival rates of broods as a function of energy intake rate and other ecological factors. We hypothesized that broods fed at higher energy intake rates would grow faster and fly earlier, thereby being less vulnerable to predators and having higher rates of survival. Consistent with our prediction, broods with higher energy intake rates had higher rates of growth and daily survival. The best-supported model indicated that brood survival varied by energy intake rate and brood age. To understand how adults meet the increasing nutritional needs of developing chicks, we examined delivery rates and prey type and size as a function of brood age. Delivery rates differed by age, but composition and size classes of prey items did not, indicating that adults respond to the rising energetic needs of broods by increasing parental effort rather than switching prey. These findings demonstrate the importance of diet and provisioning to broods and given the consequences of reduced energy intake on survival, indicate that shifts in intertidal invertebrates as a result of climate change could have significant impacts on Black Oystercatcher populations.

Publication Year 2019
Title Energy intake rate influences survival of Black Oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani broods
Authors B.H. Robinson, L.M. Phillips, Abby Powell
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Seabird Science and Conservation
Index ID 70208021
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta