Austad, Martin

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Data package
    Data from: Partial migration in the Mediterranean storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis
    (2019-04-23) Lago, Paulo; Austad, Martin; Metzger, Benjamin
    Studying the migration routes and wintering areas of seabirds is crucial to understanding their ecology and to inform conservation efforts. Here we present results of a tracking study carried out on the little-known Mediterranean Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis. During the 2016 breeding season, Global Location Sensor (GLS) tags were deployed on birds at the largest Mediterranean colony: the islet of Filfla in the Maltese Archipelago. The devices were retrieved the following season, revealing hitherto unknown movements and wintering areas of this species. Most individuals remained in the Mediterranean throughout the year, with birds shifting westwards or remaining in the central Mediterranean during winter. However, one bird left the Mediterranean through the Strait of Gibraltar and wintered in the North Atlantic. Our results from GLS tracking, which are supported by data from ringed and recovered birds, point toward a system of partial migration with high inter-individual variation. This highlights the importance of trans-boundary marine protection for the conservation of vulnerable seabirds.
  • Data package
    Data from: Pre-laying movements of Yelkouan Shearwaters (Puffinus yelkouan) in the Central Mediterranean [2016-2017]
    (2019-04-12) Lago, Paulo; Austad, Martin; Metzger, Benjamin; Gatt, Marie Claire
    The pre-laying exodus (PLE) is considered a crucial period in the breeding biology of Procellariiformes as it determines the success of egg production within a season and, therefore, a population’s reproductive output. However, it has scarcely been studied compared to other stages of the annual cycle. Here we present the first pre-laying tracks of the vulnerable Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) through the Global Positioning System tracking of birds breeding on the Maltese islands in the Central Mediterranean, and compare PLE core utilisation areas to known areas used during the chick-rearing period. Females spend, on average, 13 days foraging during egg development, reaching an average maximum distance of 325.5 km from their breeding colony to forage at offshore areas mainly south of the Maltese islands; these journeys are of longer duration and cover a greater distance than those undertaken by males, and by females that are not developing an egg, during the same period. There is little to no overlap between the PLE core utilisation areas and those used during chick-rearing by the same populations. This confirms our expectations that the PLE differs from foraging trips undertaken outside of the egg development period. Our results highlight the need for more research into the factors attracting egg-producing females to the PLE foraging areas and the importance of trans-boundary marine protection for the conservation of vulnerable seabirds.