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Foraging strategies of southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) in relation to frontal zones and water masses


Field, IC and Hindell, MA and Slip, D and Michael, KJ, Foraging strategies of southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) in relation to frontal zones and water masses, Antarctic Science, 13, (4) pp. 371-379. ISSN 0954-1020 (2001) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0954102001000529


Geolocating-time-depth-temperature-recorders (GLTDTR) provided a continuous record of diving behaviour in relation to water temperature for ten female southern elephant seals from Macquarie Island during their post-breeding trips to sea. Four water bodies were determined from depth/temperature profiles recorded by the GLTDTRs. These water bodies corresponded to Sub-Antarctic Mode Water (SAMW), Polar Front Zone Water (PFZW), Polar Front Water (PFW) and Antarctic Water Masses (AWM). Thermal structures within these water bodies did not influence seal diving behaviour. Overall mean dive depth, nocturnal dive depths, diurnal dive depths and dive duration were similar in all areas. However, individuals did change behaviour as they moved between different water bodies. Seals also used different water bodies in the two different years of the study. We suggest that variations in foraging behaviour among seals are a result of prey distribution associated with local oceanographic conditions, but also reflect important individual foraging strategies within thermal zones.

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:Field, IC (Dr Iain Field)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
UTAS Author:Michael, KJ (Dr Kelvin Michael)
ID Code:22389
Year Published:2001
Web of Science® Times Cited:58
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2001-08-01
Last Modified:2004-12-06

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