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Title: Understanding oceanic migrations with intrinsic biogeochemical markers
Author: Ramos i Garcia, Raül
González-Solís, Jacob
Croxall, J.P.
Oro, Daniel
Ruiz Gabriel, Xavier
Keywords: Ocells marins
Marcadors bioquímics
Ecologia marina
Migració d'ocells
Sea birds
Biochemical markers
Marine ecology
Birds migration
Issue Date: Jul-2009
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Abstract: Migratory marine vertebrates move annually across remote oceanic water masses crossing international borders. Many anthropogenic threats such as overfishing, bycatch, pollution or global warming put millions of marine migrants at risk especially during their long-distance movements. Therefore, precise knowledge about these migratory movements to understand where and when these animals are more exposed to human impacts is vital for addressing marine conservation issues. Because electronic tracking devices suffer from several constraints, mainly logistical and financial, there is emerging interest in finding appropriate intrinsic markers, such as the chemical composition of inert tissues, to study long-distance migrations and identify wintering sites. Here, using tracked pelagic seabirds and some of their own feathers which were known to be grown at different places and times within the annual cycle, we proved the value of biogeochemical analyses of inert tissue as tracers of marine movements and habitat use. Analyses of feathers grown in summer showed that both stable isotope signatures and element concentrations can signal the origin of breeding birds feeding in distinct water masses. However, only stable isotopes signalled water masses used during winter because elements mainly accumulated during the long breeding period are incorporated into feathers grown in both summer and winter. Our findings shed new light on the simple and effective assignment of marine organisms to distinct oceanic areas, providing new opportunities to study unknown migration patterns of secretive species, including in relation to human-induced mortality on specific populations in the marine environment.
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It is part of: PLoS One, 2009, vol. 4, num. 7, p. e6236
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ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals)

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