Menu

Image of the Day: Older and Wiser

As the years go by, seabirds such as gannets get better at foraging.  

Jun 8, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra

Scientists attach fitted colored rings to the legs of a gannet for identification. © SAM HOBSONAccording to recent research published June 6 in Interface, gannets (Morus bassanus), a type of seabird, improve their foraging skills as they age. Researchers used miniature GPS trackers attached to the birds to plot the foraging locations and behavior of gannets in the North Sea. While immature birds tended to cast their nets far and wide, adult gannets restricted themselves, repetitively hunting in specific areas where water bodies mingle. Called oceanographic fronts, these sites offer an abundance of food for marine creatures.

“The results of our study provide crucial information on how seabirds efficiently locate and exploit patchy food resources vital to their survival and long-term fitness,” Keith Hamer, a coauthor on the paper, says in a statement.

Hamer and his colleagues suggest immature gannets between two and four years old use this period to learn how to recognize feeding grounds. This is likely why these “seabirds and other long-lived predators don’t start breeding until they’re several years old.”

James Grecian, a coauthor on the study, weighs a gannet before releasing it. Coming in at a little more than 3 kg, with a wingspan of up to 2 meters, the gannet is the U.K.’s largest seabird. © SAM HOBSON

W.J. Grecian et al., “Understanding the ontogeny of foraging behaviour: insights from combining marine predator bio-logging with satellite-derived oceanography in hidden Markov models,” J R Soc Interface, doi:10.1098/rsif.2018.0084, 2018.

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice cutting tools—which feature our patent-pending safety blades—meet many lab-specific requirements. Our scalpels and craft knives are well suited for delicate work, and our utility knives are good for general use.

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

Every minute counts when waiting for accurate diagnostic test results to guide critical care decisions, making today's clinical lab more important than ever. In fact, nearly 70 percent of critical care decisions are driven by a diagnostic test.

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC’s Genomics division announced it is transforming its branding under LGC, Biosearch Technologies, a unified portfolio brand integrating optimised genomic analysis technologies and tools to accelerate scientific outcomes.