Énergétique de la reproduction chez une espèce d'oiseau marin très agressive : le manchot royal

Authors: Viera, Vanessa.
Advisor: Côté, Steeve D.; Groscolas, René
Abstract: Energy utilization is central to the ecology of organisms and energy constraints shape many aspects of their behaviour and life-history strategies. The main objective of this thesis was to examine how energy shapes aggressive behaviour during the breeding season in a highly territorial seabird, the king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus). We collected data at Possession Island during three breeding seasons between 2003 and 2007. We first validated whether heart rate (HR), our measure of energy expenditure (EE), was an accurate estimate of EE in free-living king penguins. Heart rate recorders represent a non invasive approach offering the possibility to monitor metabolism with a fine time resolution, it is therefore an useful tool to determine the cost of various behavioural activities in the field. Notably, a key advancement in this thesis is the use of this technique. We determined energy costs associated with reproduction relative to territory location (centre vs. edge), reproductive state (incubating vs. brooding), and laying date (early vs. late), which are known to influence reproductive success of king penguins. We showed that females had a daily EE 32% higher than males and that EE increased throughout the breeding season. We also found that males in their first incubation shift had a daily EE 36 % lower than later in the breeding season, suggesting an energy saving strategy to cope with the longest reproductive fast observed in king penguins. Moreover, we found that king penguins devoted less energy to threats, the most frequent aggressive behaviour performed for territory defence, than to attacks with body contact. In addition, despite accounting for 13 % of the daily time budget, territory defence contributed only 2.5 % of the total daily EE. We also demonstrated that aggressive level was signaled with the size of an ornamental trait of king penguins, the auricular patch, likely to reduce the occurrence of fights. We investigated how parental effort of each parent affected chick growth rate and reproductive success. We found foraging duration to be the main determinant of our dependant variable but also found that energy expenditure, territory defence, and body condition of parents successively influenced positively breeding success throughout the breeding season. To conclude, our work emphasized the central role of energy to explain behavioural decisions of individuals while providing insights for studies in species facing severe energy constraints. on the central role of energy and territory defence in the ecology of king penguins but also showed how king penguins developed behavioural and physiological strategies allowing them to save energy during prolonged fasting and to defend their territory efficiently.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2011
Open Access Date: 18 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/22902
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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