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Foods, trophic relationships, and migration of Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwaters associated with squid and large-mesh driftnet fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean

January 1, 2000

We salvaged dead birds from high seas driftnets in the Central North Pacific Ocean during a study of the impact of high seas driftnet fishing on marine ecosystems. Digestive tract contents and stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon in breast muscles of these birds were analyzed to assess the effect of driftnets on the trophic relationships of marine birds. The diets of Sooty (Puffinus griseus) and Short-tailed (P. tenuirostris) Shearwaters associated with high seas driftnets in the transitional region of the North Pacific Ocean overlap broadly. The principal differences between them include 1) Sooties prey more heavily on immature stages of invertebrates, especially the barnacle Lepas fascicularis than do Short-tails, 2) Pacific saury (Cololabis saira) are the primary fish taken by Sooties while lanternfish (Myctophidae) are the primary fish taken by Short-tails, and 3) Sooties take a wider variety of prey than do Short-tails. During the last years of extensive high seas driftnet fishing (early 1990's), both shearwaters augmented their diets with about 15% offal and discards from fishing vessels. Values for stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon in breast muscle tissues (δ15N and δ15C) indicate the extent and timing of movements of Sooty Shearwaters: including arrival of migrants from the south Pacific (April-May), east to west movement from the eastern Pacific (May-June), and west to east movement from Japan (August-September). Fall migrant Sooties were not detected. The only movements of Short-tails that we detected were a few south-bound migrants in September-November.

Publication Year 2000
Title Foods, trophic relationships, and migration of Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwaters associated with squid and large-mesh driftnet fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean
Authors Patrick J. Gould, Peggy H. Ostrom, William Walker
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Waterbirds
Index ID 70185313
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center