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Resource partitioning through oceanic segregation of foraging juvenile southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina)

Citation

Field, IC and Bradshaw, CJA and Burton, HR and Sumner, MD and Hindell, MA, Resource partitioning through oceanic segregation of foraging juvenile southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina), Oecologia, 142, (1) pp. 127-135. ISSN 0029-8549 (2005) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00442-004-1704-2

Abstract

In highly dynamic and unpredictable environments such as the Southern Ocean, species that have evolved behaviors that reduce the effects of intra-specific competition may have a selective advantage. This is particularly true when juveniles face disadvantages when foraging due to morphological or physiological limitation, which is the case for many marine mammals. We tracked the at-sea movements of 48 juvenile southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) between the ages of 1 and 4 years from the population at Macquarie Island using locations derived from recorded light levels. There were significant differences in the total amount of the Southern Ocean covered by the different age-groups. The younger seals used a smaller area than the older seals. On average, the younger individuals also made more trips to sea than the older seals and did not travel as far on each trip. Females spent more time at sea than males and there were no significant differences between the total areas used by male and females. In summary, younger seals remained closer to the island at all times, and they spent more time in more northerly regions that older seals. These differences in behavior created temporal and spatial segregation between juveniles of different ages. Therefore, we suggest that these temporal and spatial separations help to avoid intra-specific competition for resources on land, space on beaches, and at-sea foraging areas. Such modifications of haul-out timing and behavior enable them to exploit a patchy and unpredictable environment. © Springer-Verlag 2004.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural Ecology
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Objective Field:Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Author:Field, IC (Dr Iain Field)
Author:Bradshaw, CJA (Dr Corey Bradshaw)
Author:Sumner, MD (Mr Michael Sumner)
Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:32800
Year Published:2005
Web of Science® Times Cited:78
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2005-08-01
Last Modified:2011-11-23
Downloads:0

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