Penguin ecology and marine ecosystem state

Penguins are marine predators widespread through the southern hemisphere in large breeding colonies. Two such colonies are in St Kilda in Melbourne and on Phillip Island about 2 hours’ drive from Melbourne.phillip island parks logo

In collaboration with Dr André Chiaradia from Phillip Island Nature Parks, we have been investigating the interaction between little penguins (Eudyptula minor) and their marine environment, in order to understand how their foraging strategies, reproduction and behaviour are impacted by environmental variability. We use this information to understand how changes in the marine environment affect penguins and their ecosystem more broadly, particularly as it affects their foraging opportunities. This informs us on strategies to manage marine impacts and environmental change.

This research is funded by an Australian Research Council grant.

Little Penguin

Eudyptula minor

Eudyptula minor with tracker

Eudyptula minor breeding pair

Representative publications:

Sánchez, S., Reina, R.D., Kato, A, Ropert-Coudert, Y., Cavallo, C., Hays, G.C., Chiaradia, A. 2018. Within-colony spatial segregation leads to foraging behaviour variation in a seabird. Marine Ecology Progress Series 606, pp 215-230. doi:10.3354/meps12764

Cavallo, C, Chiaradia, A, Deagle, BE, McInnes, JC, Sanchez, S, Hays, GC, and Reina, RD 2018. Molecular analysis of predator scats reveals role of salps in temperate inshore food webs. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5, 1-14, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00381.

Kowalczyk, N.D., Reina, R.D., Preston, T.J., and Chiaradia, A. 2015. Environmental variability drives shifts in the foraging behaviour and reproductive success of an inshore seabird. Oecologia DOI 10.1007/s00442-015-3294-6.

Kowalczyk, N.D., Chiaradia, A., Preston, T.J., and Reina, R.D. 2015. Fine-scale dietary changes between the breeding and non-breeding diet of a resident seabird. Royal Society Open Science 2, DOI 10.1098/rsos.140291.

Preston, T.J., A. Chiaradia, S.A. Caarels and R.D. Reina. 2010. Fine-scale biologging of an inshore marine animal. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 390: 196-202.

Preston, T.J., Y. Ropert-Coudert, A. Kato, A. Chiaradia, P. Dann and R.D. Reina. 2008. Foraging behaviour of little penguins in an artificially modified environment. Endangered Species Research 4: 95-103.