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Goélands surabondants et ressources alimentaires anthropiques: cas des colonies insulaires de Goélands leucophées du littoral provençal

Abstract : The objective of this study was to analyse the influence of the geographical distribution of human-related food resources (open-air refuse dumps) on the spatial distribution, colony size, demography, and diet of the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) inhabiting rocky islets off the Provençal coast during two life stages (adult and chick), as well as for reproductive parameters. This is the first study of its kind to use a large-scale approach (80 kilometers of coastline) and correspondingly large databases of nesting and feeding sites. Usage patterns for the primary refuse dumps within the potential feeding zones of Larus michahellis were studied. Refuse dump material dominates by far the diet of these populations, for both adults and chicks and regardless of the accessibility gradient to dumps found in the surrounding environment. Refuse dumps constitute, therefore, the preferred food source for this species within the study area. Furthermore, the accessibility and abundance of human-related food resources on the continent largely determines the spatial distribution and size of insular nesting colonies, and therefore also their recent demographic changes and the reproductive parameters of the colonies. Gull-surveys at dumps confirmed the importance of these sites as a food source for the species. During the reproductive season, refuse dumps were visited by the majority of nesting gulls in the study area. Nevertheless, the quantity of food provided by refuse dumps exceeds that used by the current gull population, and the available nesting sites are also under-used, with certain sites having low densities in nesting couples. This undersaturation of food and nesting resources foresees a continuation in the increase of these yellow-legged gull populations in the coming years. In the context of a superabundant species like the yellow-legged gull, the probable increase in numbers will most likely be accompanied by an increase in negative interactions with the surrounding human population. Therefore, regulatory measures will certainly be required to either control the demography of the species, or to diminish its capacity to become a pest.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 11, 2005 - 3:17:41 PM
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Céline Duhem. Goélands surabondants et ressources alimentaires anthropiques: cas des colonies insulaires de Goélands leucophées du littoral provençal. Ecologie, Environnement. Université de droit, d'économie et des sciences - Aix-Marseille III, 2004. Français. ⟨tel-00008462⟩

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