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A comparison of techniques used to estimate body condition of southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina)


Tierney, M and Hindell, MA and Lea, MA and Tollit, D, A comparison of techniques used to estimate body condition of southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina), Wildlife Research, 28, (6) pp. 581-588. ISSN 1035-3712 (2001) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2001 CSIRO.

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DOI: doi:10.1071/WR00066


The total body water (TBW) and body condition of 86 female southern elephant seals was estimated from tritiated water (HTO) dilution space analysis. HTO blood samples were analysed using two distillation methods (direct serum counts and evaporative freeze capture) that yielded significantly different estimates. Evaporative freeze capture is recommended for use because it is faster, cheaper, and provides a more precise TBW estimate of dilution space. Estimates of TBW were then compared with those derived from bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and morphometric models. There were significant, positive relationships between TBW and BIA variables, but the level of accuracy was inadequate for BIA to be more useful than the other methods trialled. Morphometric models accurately estimated TBW (kg). Models developed from surface area (SA) (TBW = [SA * 82.58] 86.94) and from a combination of mass (M), length (L), and girth (G) (TBW = [(M * 0.72) + (L * 5.49) + (G * 134.94) + 164.36)] provided the most accurate TBW estimates. In contrast, condition indices did not give accurate or reliable estimates of relative body condition.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Wildlife and habitat management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Tierney, M (Dr Megan Tierney)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
UTAS Author:Lea, MA (Professor Mary-Anne Lea)
ID Code:22722
Year Published:2001
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2001-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-03

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