CIE Seminar Series – 2022: The ecology and niche segregation of diving petrels

SPEAKER: Aymeric Formant, Deakin University and CEBC (La Rochelle University, France)

DATE & TIME: Thursday, 14th April 2022 @ 4pm.

LOCATION: Seminar to be streamed via Zoom. Click HERE to connect (Meeting ID: 818 2563 5734, Password: 98853504).

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Exploring a species’ ecological niche entails investigation through multiple scales, as different environmental threats and niche constraints between intra-species levels may lead to important ecological and conservation consequences. However, the absence of precise information about small species ecology has greatly limited ecological niche modelling studies, directly impacting our ability to delineate proper conservation planning. Technological advancements in the miniaturisation of data loggers have made it possible to collect ecological data of such species.

In the present study, a multi-tooled approach was used to investigate the ecological niche of two small seabird species, the common and the South-Georgian diving petrels. The primary objectives were to: 1) describe their foraging ecology during the breeding and non-breeding periods, and investigate their inter-annual variations; 2) determine the ecological differences between populations throughout the Southern Ocean; and 3) study the variations in their foraging ecology throughout the entire annual-cycle in the context of niche segregation.

The results demonstrated that diving petrels exhibit remarkable flying abilities despite their high wing loading, foraging over large areas during the breeding season, and migrating several thousands of kilometres from their colony during the post-breeding period. These analyses revealed important ecological differences throughout the species distribution, particularly in terms of phenology and migration area. Collecting data over several years substantially strengthens results and provides valuable information to understand the variations and the limits of diving petrel ecological niches.

Finally, a stage-dependent and context-dependent niche segregation analysis demonstrated the importance of a multi-tooled approach to better describe and understand the co-existence of ecologically similar species.


I just finished my PhD about the ecology and niche segregation of diving petrels (small seabirds) in the Southern Ocean, in co-supervision with John Arnould at Deakin, and Charly Bost at La Rochelle University in France.

My main focuses are the foraging ecology, trophic ecology and movement ecology of seabirds and marine mammals, with a particular interest for polar and sub-polar environments.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone.

Thanking you in advance!

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