Oceanographic fronts are the sites of enhanced physical and biological activity, including locally con-centrated feeding by marine birds. Two general hypotheses relating marine birds to fronts have been developed. The first is that enhanced primary production at fronts increases prey supply through increased animal growth, reproduction, or immigration. The second is that prey patches develop at fronts either through behavioural responses of prey to thermal or salinity gradients, or through interaction between prey behaviour and circulatory patterns. Several recent studies support the second hypothesis. The first hypothesis, that birds benefit from enhanced primary production at fronts, has yet to be evaluated. We need a better understanding of trophic mechanisms at fronts in order to determine (1) the proportion of daily energy requirements extracted by predators at fronts; (2) the proportion of natural mortality of prey populations at fronts; and (3) the probability of contact between seabirds and point source pollutants
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