From the 1980s, Mediterranean shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii have become regular summer visitors in the Gulf of Trieste (N-E Italy), as postbreeding movements from Croatian breeding colonies. To characterize such a recent habit and to explore diving optimality models, we investigate foraging strategies and diving patterns at diVerent depths, during breeding and postbreeding seasons. Behavioural data were cross-checked with the species’ diet. Shags foraged on and close to the sea bed, with a prevalent anticipatory breathing strategy. In the Gulf of Trieste, the shallow depths and low mobility of prey allowed shags to use just the oxygen of the respiratory tract, reducing the physiological stress for diving. In Croatia, dive costs increased with depth and prey mobility, resulting in a higher oxygen expenditure that involved also respiratory stores. Such ecological and physiological aspects characterize the Gulf of Trieste as an optimal area for feeding and restoring from the costs of breeding season incurred in Croatia and could be the basis of these post-breeding movements.

Diving costs and benefits during post-breeding movementsof the Mediterranean shag in the North Adriatic Sea

SPONZA, Stefano;COSOLO, Mauro;FERRERO, ENRICO
2010-01-01

Abstract

From the 1980s, Mediterranean shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii have become regular summer visitors in the Gulf of Trieste (N-E Italy), as postbreeding movements from Croatian breeding colonies. To characterize such a recent habit and to explore diving optimality models, we investigate foraging strategies and diving patterns at diVerent depths, during breeding and postbreeding seasons. Behavioural data were cross-checked with the species’ diet. Shags foraged on and close to the sea bed, with a prevalent anticipatory breathing strategy. In the Gulf of Trieste, the shallow depths and low mobility of prey allowed shags to use just the oxygen of the respiratory tract, reducing the physiological stress for diving. In Croatia, dive costs increased with depth and prey mobility, resulting in a higher oxygen expenditure that involved also respiratory stores. Such ecological and physiological aspects characterize the Gulf of Trieste as an optimal area for feeding and restoring from the costs of breeding season incurred in Croatia and could be the basis of these post-breeding movements.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2477930
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