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Movements of adult female Weddell seals during the winter months


Lake, SE and Burton, H and Wotherspoon, SJ, Movements of adult female Weddell seals during the winter months, Polar Biology, 29, (4) pp. 270-279. ISSN 0722-4060 (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00300-005-0050-0


The focus of this study was the distribution of adult female Weddell seals during winter at the Vestfold Hills. Satellite tracking of Weddell seals had never been done before at this location. Hence, this was a pilot study to evaluate the following methods. We attached satellite transmitters to the lower back, where there was least potential to change the seals' behaviour or to damage instruments on the ice. Location data were obtained only where the seals hauled out, not necessarily where they were feeding. All locations were within the area of fast-ice that was associated with the Vestfold Hills. There were gaps of up to 30 days in the location data sets. Each instrument (n = 3) remained attached and functioning for ca. 6 months. During that time, two of the three seals hauled out within small areas adjacent to, or nearby, open water. The same seals hauled out sporadically. We inferred that these seals foraged offshore whilst returning to fast-ice to rest. If Weddell seals forage beneath dynamic ice but return to stable ice as their preferred resting substrate, then evidence of haulout sites will always be a biased measure of foraging range. Tracking seals in the water may be possible using alternative placement of transmitters. However, there is potential for instruments to interfere with movement (breathing and prey capture). For this reason, we recommend a combination of sensors, diet and tracking haulout sites to research winter foraging. © Springer-Verlag 2005.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Zoology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Air quality, atmosphere and weather
Objective Field:Weather
UTAS Author:Lake, SE (Dr Samantha Lake)
UTAS Author:Wotherspoon, SJ (Dr Simon Wotherspoon)
ID Code:43050
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Mathematics
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2007-03-14

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