Projects per year
Accurate estimates of penguin energetics would represent an important contribution to our understanding of the trophodynamics of the Southern Ocean ecosystem and our ability to predict effects of environmental change on these species. We used the heart rate-rate of oxygen consumption technique to estimate rate of energy expenditure in adult king penguins raising a chick, in combination with data from the literature on changes in adult mass, chick energy requirements, and prey energy density. Our model estimated a variety of energetic costs and quantities of prey consumption related to raising a king penguin chick during the austral summer. The total energy requirements of a king penguin chick at the Crozet Archipelago from hatching until reaching a mass of 8 kg 90 d later is 271 MJ, representing the consumption of 38.4 kg of myctophid fish. A successfully breeding male requires 0.78 kg d(-1) of fish during the entirety of the incubation period and 1.14 kg d(-1) during the subsequent 90 d of chick rearing. Assuming the same energy requirements for females, the estimated 580,000 pairs of king penguins that breed successfully at Crozet each year, together with their chicks, consume a total of around 190,000 tons of fish during the incubation and summer rearing periods combined. If, due to depletion of fish stocks, the diet of breeders and chicks during the summer becomes identical to the typical diet of adults during the austral winter, the mass of prey required by both adults and chicks combined (where the chick still reaches 8 kg after 90 d) would increase by more than 25%.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Physiological and Biochemical Zoology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2008|
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- 1 Finished
Ecophysiology of the King Penguin and its usefulness as a Bio-Monitor of Marine Resources in the Southern Ocean.
Butler, P. & Woakes, A.
Natural Environment Research Council
4/03/02 → 3/09/06
Project: Research Councils