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Weddell seal behaviour during an exceptional oceanographic event in the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in 2017


Labrousse, S and Ryan, S and Roquet, F and Picard, B and McMahon, CR and Harcourt, R and Hindell, M and Le Goff, H and Lourenco, A and David, Y and Sallee, JB and Charrassin, JB, Weddell seal behaviour during an exceptional oceanographic event in the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in 2017, Antarctic Science, 33, (3) pp. 252-264. ISSN 0954-1020 (2021) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0954102021000092


Rapid and regionally contrasting climate changes have been observed around Antarctica. However, our understanding of the impact of these changes on ecosystems remains limited, and there is an urgent need to better identify habitats of Antarctic species. The Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) is a circumpolar mesopredator and an indicative species of Antarctic marine communities. It has been extensively studied in the western Ross Sea and East Antarctica, and an understanding of its ecology in the Weddell Sea in the wintertime is emerging. We documented the behavioural response(s) of four Weddell seals from February to June in 2017 in the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf region and related these to unusual oceanographic conditions in 2017. Unexpectedly, we found that Weddell seals had the longest foraging effort within the outflow of Ice Shelf Water or at its turbulent boundary. They also foraged on the eastern side of the trough from April to June within the Modified Warm Deep Water and seem to take advantage of the unusual conditions of persistent inflow of warm waters through the winter. Linking animal behavioural responses to oceanographic conditions is informative for quantifying rarely recorded events and provides great insight into how predators may respond to changing conditions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic predators, bio-telemetry, foraging behaviour, physical oceanography, spatial ecology, Weddell Sea
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal behaviour
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Antarctic and Southern Ocean ice dynamics
UTAS Author:McMahon, CR (Dr Clive McMahon)
UTAS Author:Hindell, M (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:150267
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-06-06
Last Modified:2022-08-23
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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