A miniature digital camera was attached to the backs of four black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophrys) breeding at colonies on Bird Island, South Georgia in the Southern Ocean. Results are published online this week in the open-access journal PLoS ONE from the Public Library of Science.
The amazing pictures reveal albatrosses foraging in groups while at sea collecting food for their chicks. It also provides the first observation of an albatross feeding with a killer whale – a strategy they may adopt for efficiency.
The camera, developed by the National Institute for Polar Research in Tokyo, is removed when the albatross returns to its breeding ground after foraging trips. It is small (the size of a packet of polo mints*) and weighs 82g. Although the camera slightly changes the aerodynamic shape of the albatross, it didn't affect the breeding success of the study birds.
Dr Richard Phillips from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) says,
"These images are really interesting. They show us that albatrosses associate with marine mammals in the same way as tropical seabirds often do with tuna. In both cases the prey (usually fish) are directed to the surface and then it's easy hunting for the birds."
The study took place at the breeding colony of black-browed albatrosses at Bird Island, South Georgia in January 2009, as part of a UK-Japan International Polar Year 2007-9 project.
*the camera is also the size of a large lipstick
Issued by the British Antarctic Survey Press OfficeAthena Dinar, Tel: +44 (0)1223 221 414; mobile: 07740 822229
From the eye of the albatrosses: a bird-borne camera shows an association between albatrosses and a killer whale in the Southern Ocean by Kentaro Q. Sakamoto, Akinori Takahashi, Takashi Iwata and Phil N. Trathan is published this week in the journal PLOS ONE Public Library of Science.
The four albatrosses were selected at their nest site on Bird Island and a still-camera was taped onto the back feathers of the birds. Over 28,000 pictures were taken from cameras on three albatrosses. One camera wasn't retrieved. Foraging trips lasted between half a day and five and a half days. The camera, combined with depth and external temperature data loggers, was used to study the interactions between albatrosses and their environment during their foraging trips.
The Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is a world leader in research into global environmental issues. With an annual budget of around £45 million, five Antarctic Research Stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft, BAS undertakes an interdisciplinary research programme and plays an active and influential role in Antarctic affairs. BAS has joint research projects with over 40 UK universities and has more than 120 national and international collaborations. It is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council. More information about the work of the Survey can be found at: www.antarctica.ac.uk
National Institute of Polar Research, Japan is the leading organisation of Japanese scientific activities in both Arctic and Antarctic regions, and conducts active polar research through national programs as well as international collaborations. More information can be found at http://www.nipr.ac.jp/english/
Hokkaido University, located in Sapporo, Japan, is one of the leading Japanese universities, and has strong tradition of field-based science. More information can be found at http://www.hokudai.ac.jp/en/index.html
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy