eCite Digital Repository

Influence of environmental variation on spatial distribution and habitat-use in a benthic foraging marine predator


Speakman, CN and Hoskins, AJ and Hindell, MA and Costa, DP and Hartog, JR and Hobday, AJ and Arnould, JPY, Influence of environmental variation on spatial distribution and habitat-use in a benthic foraging marine predator, Royal Society Open Science, 8, (10) Article 211052. ISSN 2054-5703 (2021) [Refereed Article]

PDF (Published version )

Copyright Statement

2021 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License,, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsos.211052


The highly dynamic nature of the marine environment can have a substantial influence on the foraging behaviour and spatial distribution of marine predators, particularly in pelagic marine systems. However, knowledge of the susceptibility of benthic marine predators to environmental variability is limited. This study investigated the influence of local-scale environmental conditions and large-scale climate indices on the spatial distribution and habitat use in the benthic foraging Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus; AUFS). Female AUFS provisioning pups were instrumented with GPS or ARGOS platform terminal transmitter tags during the austral winters of 2001-2019 at Kanowna Island, south-eastern Australia. Individuals were most susceptible to changes in the Southern Oscillation Index that measures the strength of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, with larger foraging ranges, greater distances travelled and more dispersed movement associated with 1-yr lagged La Nina-like conditions. Additionally, the total distance travelled was negatively correlated with the current year sea surface temperature and 1-yr lagged Indian Ocean Dipole, and positively correlated with 1-yr lagged chlorophyll-a concentration. These results suggest that environmental variation may influence the spatial distribution and availability of prey, even within benthic marine systems.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:foraging, marine predator, habitat use, spatial distribution
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:152626
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-08-22
Last Modified:2022-09-14
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page