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Use of anthropogenic sea floor structures by Australian fur seals: potential positive ecological impacts of marine industrial development?

Citation

Arnould, JPY and Monk, J and Ierodiaconou, D and Hindell, MA and Semmens, J and Hoskins, AJ and Costa, DP and Abernathy, K and Marshall, GJ, Use of anthropogenic sea floor structures by Australian fur seals: potential positive ecological impacts of marine industrial development?, PLoS ONE, 10, (7) Article e0130581. ISSN 1932-6203 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130581

Abstract

Human-induced changes to habitats can have deleterious effects on many species that occupy them. However, some species can adapt and even benefit from such modifications. Artificial reefs have long been used to provide habitat for invertebrate communities and promote local fish populations. With the increasing demand for energy resources within ocean systems, there has been an expansion of infrastructure in near-shore benthic environments which function as de facto artificial reefs. Little is known of their use by marine mammals. In this study, the influence of anthropogenic sea floor structures (pipelines, cable routes, wells and shipwrecks) on the foraging locations of 36 adult female Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) was investigated. For 9 (25%) of the individuals, distance to anthropogenic sea floor structures was the most important factor in determining the location of intensive foraging activity. Whereas the influence of anthropogenic sea floor structures on foraging locations was not related to age and mass, it was positively related to flipper length/standard length (a factor which can affect manoeuvrability). A total of 26 (72%) individuals tracked with GPS were recorded spending time in the vicinity of structures (from <1% to >75% of the foraging trip duration) with pipelines and cable routes being the most frequented. No relationships were found between the amount of time spent frequenting anthropogenic structures and individual characteristics. More than a third (35%) of animals foraging near anthropogenic sea floor structures visited more than one type of structure. These results further highlight potentially beneficial ecological outcomes of marine industrial development.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus, piplines cable routes, biologging
Research Division:Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries Sciences
Research Field:Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Ecosystem Assessment and Management
Objective Field:Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments
Author:Monk, J (Dr Jacquomo Monk)
Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
Author:Semmens, J (Associate Professor Jayson Semmens)
ID Code:101906
Year Published:2015
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP110102065)
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-07-16
Last Modified:2017-11-04
Downloads:181 View Download Statistics

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