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Beyond Allometric Models: Flight Costs of Red-Footed Boobies Vary in Response to Wind Conditions

Released: 2017
Citation:
Czapanskiy, M., J.J. Felis, E.J. Kelsey, J. Adams. 2017. Beyond Allometric Models: Flight Costs of Red-Footed Boobies Vary in Response to Wind Conditions. Pacific Seabird Group 44th Annual Meeting, Tacoma, WA. 22-25 February 2017.


Predictions of seabird flight costs based on allometric models are often greater than those observed in empirical studies, with the difference often attributed to efficient use of wind. For example, Red-footed Boobies (Sula sula) expend one-third the amount of energy in flight predicted by Pennycuick's allometric model (Ballance 1995) and Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) field metabolic rate drops as wind speed increases (Furness & Bryant 1996). Using accelerometers to estimate instantaneous energetic costs, Amélineau et al. (2014) found Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) reduced energy expenditure when flying with stronger tail winds after controlling for behavioral state. Most recent studies, however, relied on short deployments on temperate or polar species, yet tropical seabirds, inhabiting warmer waters with scarcer prey, have different energetic constraints. We tracked fifteen chick-provisioning Red-footed Boobies at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai with GPS and accelerometers for two months, sampling ~700 trips across a variety of wind conditions. We tested the hypotheses: (1) flight costs were least when transiting with strong tailwinds and (2) energetic costs showed less variance during transit than active searching/foraging.


This product is associated with the following project:
Main Hawaiian Islands Seabird Tracking Study

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