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Decadal changes in blood 13C values, at-sea distribution, and weaning mass of southern elephant seals from Kerguelen Islands

Citation

Mestre, J and Authier, M and Cherel, Y and Harcourt, R and McMahon, CR and Hindell, MA and Charrassin, J-B and Guinet, C, Decadal changes in blood 13C values, at-sea distribution, and weaning mass of southern elephant seals from Kerguelen Islands, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, 287, (1933) Article 20201544. ISSN 0962-8452 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society.

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2020.1544

Abstract

Changes in the foraging environment and at-sea distribution of southern elephant seals from Kerguelen Islands were investigated over a decade (20042018) using tracking, weaning mass, and blood δ13C values. Females showed either a sub-Antarctic or an Antarctic foraging strategy, and no significant shift in their at-sea distribution was detected between 2004 and 2017. The proportion of females foraging in sub-Antarctic versus Antarctic habitats did not change over the 20062018 period. Pup weaning mass varied according to the foraging habitat of their mothers. The weaning mass of sub-Antarctic foraging mothers' pups decreased by 11.7 kg over the study period, but they were on average 5.8 kg heavier than pups from Antarctic foraging mothers. Pup blood δ13C values decreased by 1.1 over the study period regardless of their sex and the presumed foraging habitat of their mothers. Together, these results suggest an ecological change is occurring within the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean with possible consequences on the foraging performance of southern elephant seals. We hypothesize that this shift in δ13C is related to a change in primary production and/or in the composition of phytoplankton communities, but this requires further multidisciplinary investigations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:seals, foraging ecology, foraging habitat, stable isotopes, bio-logging, population strategies, decadal change, Indian sector of the Southern Ocean
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:McMahon, CR (Dr Clive McMahon)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:140606
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2020-08-31
Last Modified:2021-04-12
Downloads:0

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