Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Inferring comparative foraging ecology of the Waved Albatross from isotope analysis

Gustavo Jiménez-Uzcátegui (Charles Darwin Research Station, Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador) and colleagues have published in the open-access journal Marine Ornithology on the foraging ecology of three species of Galapagos seabirds studied by stable isotope analysis, including the globally Critically Endangered Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“The Galápagos Penguin Spheniscus mendiculus, Flightless Cormorant Phalacrocorax harrisi, and Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata are endemic to Islas Galápagos. They are known to feed on different prey (including crustaceans, cephalopods, and/or several species of epipelagic and benthic fish), in accordance with different foraging strategies. In this work, we used stable-isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen to corroborate available information on habitat use (δ13C) and trophic position (δ15N). Feather samples from the three species were collected in six different areas prior to the 2011 and 2012 breeding seasons. Results showed differences in foraging strategies between Galápagos Penguins and the other two species (δ13C and δ15N, P < 0.01). The Flightless Cormorant and Waved Albatross showed similar proportions of δ13C (P = 0.07), but they occupied different trophic levels (δ15N, P < 0.01).”


Statue of a Waved Albatross in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos; photograph by John Cooper


Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G., Vaca, L., Cotín, J., García, C., Costales, A., Sevilla, C., & Páez-Rosas, D. 2019.  Using referential values of δ13C and δ15N to infer the foraging ecology of Galápagos seabirds.  Marine Ornithology 47: 5-10.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 09 November 2018