The effect of directional wind components on survival of Little Penguins Eudyptula minor

Lucia-Marie Billie Ganendran, Leesa Ann Sidhu, Edward Arthur Catchpole, Peter Dann, Lynda E Chambers


We live in an age of increased awareness of climate change and its potential effects on our ecosystems. Here we look at the effect of one aspect of climate, directional wind components, on the survival of Little Penguins Eudyptula minor on Phillip Island in south-eastern Australia, using mark-recapture data gathered over a 42 year period since 1968. We apply biologically realistic age structures for the survival and recapture probabilities, and use mean seasonal wind magnitudes from the four cardinal compass directions as covariates in our modelling of the survival probability. Results indicate that first year survival is most affected by southerly winds in the winter prior to the chick's birth, which increase survival, and by easterly winds in the summer of hatching/fledging, which decrease survival. Adult survival is most affected by increasing northerly winds in the autumn following moult (positively) and by easterly winds in the preceding summer (negatively). For both first-year and adult birds, increasing easterly summer wind is associated with decreased survival, possibly due to reduced flows of nutrient rich waters from western Bass Strait.

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