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Foraging behaviour of southern elephant seals over the Kerguelen Plateau


O'Toole, M and Hindell, MA and Charrassin, J-B and Guinet, C, Foraging behaviour of southern elephant seals over the Kerguelen Plateau, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 502 pp. 281-294. ISSN 0171-8630 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2014 Inter-Research

DOI: doi:10.3354/meps10709


A total of 79 (37 juvenile male, 42 adult female) southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina from the Kerguelen Islands were tracked between 2004 and 2009. Area-restricted search patterns and dive behaviour were established from location data gathered by CTD satellite-relayed data loggers. At-sea movements of the seals demonstrated that >40% of the juvenile elephant seal population tagged use the Kerguelen Plateau during the austral winter. Search activity increased where temperature at 200 m depth was lower, when closer to the shelf break, and, to a lesser extent, where sea-surface height anomalies were higher. However, while this model explained the observed data (F1,242 = 88.23, p < 0.0001), bootstrap analysis revealed poor predictive capacity (r2 = 0.264). There appears to be potential overlap between the seals and commercial fishing operations in the region. This study may therefore support ecosystem-based fisheries management of the region, with the aim of maintaining ecological integrity of the shelf.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southern Ocean, predators, ecology, diving behaviour, 3-dimensional utilisation, shelf break, temperature, sea-surface height, fisheries management
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:O'Toole, M (Dr Malcolm O'Toole)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:92727
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-06-26
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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