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Modelling southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina using an individual-based model coupled with a dynamic energy budget


Goedegebuure, M and Melbourne-Thomas, J and Corney, SP and McMahon, CR and Hindell, MA, Modelling southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina using an individual-based model coupled with a dynamic energy budget, PloS ONE, 13, (3) Article e0194950. ISSN 1932-6203 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Goedegebuure et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0194950


Higher trophic-level species are an integral component of any marine ecosystem. Despite their importance, methods for representing these species in end-to-end ecosystem models often have limited representation of life histories, energetics and behaviour. We built an individual-based model coupled with a dynamic energy budget for female southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina to demonstrate a method for detailed representation of marine mammals. We aimed to develop a model which could i) simulate energy use and life histories, as well as breeding traits of southern elephant seals in an emergent manner, ii) project a stable population over time, and iii) have realistic population dynamics and structure based on emergent life history features (such as age at first breeding, lifespan, fecundity and (yearling) survival). We evaluated the model's ability to represent a stable population over long time periods (>10 generations), including the sensitivity of the emergent properties to variations in key parameters. Analyses indicated that the model is sensitive to changes in resource availability and energy requirements for the transition from pup to juvenile, and juvenile to adult stage. This was particularly the case for breeding success and yearling survival. This model is suitable for use as a standalone tool for investigating the impacts of changes to behaviour and population responses of southern elephant seals.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:marine mammals, higher trophic-level predators, ecosystem model, individual-based model, dynamic energy budget theory, southern elephant seal
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Goedegebuure, M (Mrs Merel Bedford)
UTAS Author:Melbourne-Thomas, J (Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas)
UTAS Author:Corney, SP (Dr Stuart Corney)
UTAS Author:McMahon, CR (Dr Clive McMahon)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:128463
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2018-09-24
Last Modified:2018-11-27
Downloads:132 View Download Statistics

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