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Foraging habitats of southern elephant seals, Mirounga leonina, from the Northern Antarctic Peninsula

Citation

Muelbert, MMC and de Souza, RB and Lewis, MN and Hindell, MA, Foraging habitats of southern elephant seals, Mirounga leonina, from the Northern Antarctic Peninsula, Deep-Sea Research. Part 2: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 88-89 pp. 47-60. ISSN 0967-0645 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2012.07.009

Abstract

ElephantIsland(EI)isuniquelyplacedtoprovidesouthernelephantseals(SES)breedingtherewith potentialaccesstoforaginggroundsintheWeddellSea,thefrontalzonesoftheSouthAtlanticOcean, the PatagonianshelfandtheWesternAntarcticPeninsula(WAP).Quantifyingwheresealsfrom EI foragethereforeprovidesinsightsintothetypesofimportanthabitatsavailable,andwhichareof particularimportancetoelephantseals.TwentynineSES(5sub-adultmales—SAM and24adult females—AF) wereequippedwithSMRUCTD-SLDRsduringthepost-breeding(PB2008,2009)and post-moulting(PM2007,2008,2009,2010)tripstosea.Therewerestrikingintra-annualandinter-sex differencesinforagingareas,withmostofthePBfemalesremainingwithin150kmofEI.OnePBAF travelleddowntheWAPasdid16outofthe20PMfemalesandforagednearthewinterice-edge.Most PM sub-adultmalesremainedclosetoEI,inareassimilartothoseusedbyadultfemalesseveralmonths earlier, althoughoneSAMspenttheearlypartofthewinterforagingonthePatagonianShelf.The watersoftheNorthernAntarcticPeninsula(NAP)containabundantresourcestosupportthemajority of theIslands’SESforthesummerandearlywinter,suchthattheanimalsfromthispopulationhave shortermigrationsthanthosefrommostotherpopulations.Sub-adultmalesandPBfemalesare certainlytakingadvantageoftheseresources.However,PMfemalesdidnotremainthereoverthe wintermonths,insteadtheyusedthesamewatersattheice-edgeinthesouthernWAPthatfemales from bothKingGeorgeIslandandSouthGeorgiaused.Femalesmademorebenthicdivesthansub- adultmales—again thiscontrastswithothersiteswhereSAMsdomorebenthicdiving.Unlikemost other populationsstudiedtodateEIisarelativelysoutherlybreedingcolonylocatedontheAntarctic continentalshelf.EIsealsareusingshelfhabitatsmorethanotherSESpopulationsbutsomeindividuals still employopenwaterforagingstrategies.Sea-icewasalsoveryinfluentialforPMfemaleswithmore foragingoccurringinheavierpack-ice.Largerfemalesusedareaswithheavierice-concentrationthan smallerfemales.Thestudydemonstratestheimportanceofshelfandslopehabitattoelephantseals, but alsohighlightedtheinfluenceofsea-iceandfine-scalebathymetryandlocaloceanconditionin determiningforaginghabitat.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bathymetry, telemery, temporal distribution
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Ecosystem Assessment and Management
Objective Field:Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments
Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:89056
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-02-24
Last Modified:2014-05-23
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