Marine Science Graduate Student Publishes Thesis Research, Working with Collaborators

Booby bird

Working with colleagues from the Oceanic Institute and the U.S. Geological Survey, HPU’s Pelagicos Lab published the first paper from Sarah Donahue’s MS thesis: “Genetic analysis of the diet of red-footed boobies (Sula sula) provisioning chicks at Ulupa‘u crater, O‘ahu.” Donahue sorted through 22 pounds of booby regurgitations and discovered 32 prey species (29 fish and 3 squid). Flying fishes and flying squids were the most important prey, and together accounted for 80% (by number) and 50% (by mass) of the samples. In particular, purpleback flying squid juveniles (mantle length = 2 – 10 cm) accounted for 99% of all the ingested cephalopods. These results underscore the value of these generalist predators to study changes in epipelagic prey assemblages around the Main Hawaiian Islands. See the paper at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.3470 

Photo by Sarah Donahue