Alaska Science Center
Individual variation in behavior and breeding success of Northern Fulmars
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Product Type: Journal Article
Authors: Hatch, S. A.
In a sample of breeding Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) observed in 4-5 years, up to 43% of the variability in 13 attributes of breeding behavior was consistent among individuals or pairs. Sample means for most attributes were correlated in a predictable way with annual levels of breeding success. Except for laying dates, there was little evidence that individual differences in these attributes contributed to variation in breeding success. A test of breeding experience as a contributing factor revealed an interaction between individual and annual components of variation. During years when the whole population did relatively poorly, pairs with no previous breeding experience were affected disproportionately. Late-nesting fulmars were more successful than early layers, possibly because delayed breeding ensured that food availability was adequate for successful incubation.