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Winter distribution and abundance of crabeater seals off George V Land, East Antarctica


McMahon, CR and Hindell, MA and Dorr, T and Massom, RA, Winter distribution and abundance of crabeater seals off George V Land, East Antarctica, Antarctic Science, 14, (2) pp. 128-133. ISSN 0954-1020 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0954102002000688


This study is the first to describe the winter distribution of crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophagus) in East Antarctica. The study was conducted in the Mertz Glacier Polynya region from July to August 1999. In total 89 crabeater seals were seen in 26 groups which ranged in size from 1 to 35 animals (mean = 3.2). The mean observed haulout density along a 200 m wide strip transect was 0.108 seals per km2, or 0.042 groups per km2. Crabeater seals were not uniformly distributed in the polynya but selected areas of stable ice over shallow (< 1000 m) waters. We used a generalized linear model to assess the relationship of seal distribution to the physical attributes of sea ice concentration, thickness, and ocean depth. We found that ice thickness and ocean depth were the most important determinants of seal distribution. Crabeater seals occurred in areas where the ice affords them a stable haulout platform while allowing them access to Antarctic krill that live directly beneath the ice.

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:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
UTAS Author:Dorr, T (Mr Tony Dorr)
UTAS Author:Massom, RA (Dr Robert Massom)
ID Code:25223
Year Published:2002
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2002-08-01
Last Modified:2004-12-06

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