• Acronyme :
  • Référence :
  • Domaine de recherche :
  • Région :
    Subantarctique, Kerguelen
  • Site :
    Site du CEFE
  • Responsable du projet :
    Bonadonna Francesco

Behavioural ecology of subantarctic birds

are programmed to survive, mate, and optimise their fitness. To accomplish
these tasks they interact with conspecifics, other organisms, and other elements of their environment. Behaviour thus is the baseline of
all animal activities and is continuously modified by cues and clues coming
from their environment. Our project, merges animal behaviour and sensory
ecology, and aims at studying those cues and clues influencing seabirds’
behaviour. Signals coming from other individuals broadcast important
information for communication. We are particularly interested in the process of
mate choice. This behavioural process in petrels passes through acoustic and
olfactory signals giving information on direct or indirect (respectively)
benefits that a potential partner may bear to the progeny. Signals coming from
the surrounding animals may also influence animal behaviour without an actual
communication between individuals. For instance, king penguins may use for their
orientation an acoustic landscape formed by all individuals calling in the
colony. In this case, what is used by an individual it is not the information
directly broadcasted between two individuals, but the constant noise that all
the information broadcasted forms in the environment. To test this hypothesis,
we aim to study how this acoustic landscape is formed and whether it is
actually used to orient. However, in penguins not only cues coming from other
individuals may be important for orientation and positioning. Positioning in
the colony and thus survival depend also from predators and other environmental
features (waves, temperature, rain, flooding etc). Ultimately the colony
structure may reflect how the birds respond to all the inputs coming from their
surroundings. We therefore also need to understand colony formation and
dynamics to understand movements of individuals in crowded environments.