Living on the edge of a shrinking habitat: the ivory gull, Pagophila eburnea, an endangered sea-ice specialist. - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Biology Letters Year : 2016

Living on the edge of a shrinking habitat: the ivory gull, Pagophila eburnea, an endangered sea-ice specialist.

Abstract

The ongoing decline of sea ice threatens many Arctic taxa, including the ivory gull. Understanding how ice-edges and ice concentrations influence the distribution of the endangered ivory gulls is a prerequisite to the implementation of adequate conservation strategies. From 2007 to 2013, we used satellite transmitters to monitor the movements of 104 ivory gulls originating from Canada, Greenland, Svalbard-Norway and Russia. Although half of the positions were within 41 km of the ice-edge (75% within 100 km), approximately 80% were on relatively highly concentrated sea ice. Ivory gulls used more concentrated sea ice in summer, when close to their high-Arctic breeding ground, than in winter. The best model to explain the distance of the birds from the ice-edge included the ice concentration within approximately 10 km, the month and the distance to the colony. Given the strong links between ivory gull, ice-edge and ice concentration, its conservation status is unlikely to improve in the current context of sea-ice decline which, in turn, will allow anthropogenic activities to develop in regions that are particularly important for the species.

Dates and versions

hal-01397358 , version 1 (15-11-2016)

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Olivier Gilg, Larysa Istomina, Georg Heygster, Hallvard Strøm, Maria V. Gavrilo, et al.. Living on the edge of a shrinking habitat: the ivory gull, Pagophila eburnea, an endangered sea-ice specialist.. Biology Letters, 2016, 12 (11), pp.20160277. ⟨10.1098/rsbl.2016.0277⟩. ⟨hal-01397358⟩
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