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At-sea distribution of female southern elephant seals relative to variation in ocean surface properties


Bradshaw, CJA and Higgins, J and Michael, KJ and Wotherspoon, SJ and Hindell, MA, At-sea distribution of female southern elephant seals relative to variation in ocean surface properties, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 61, (6) pp. 1014-1027. ISSN 1054-3139 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.icesjms.2004.07.012


We examined the relationships between physical oceanography (sea surface temperature - SST, sea surface height anomaly - SSH, ocean colour - OC, bathymetry - BA, sea-ice concentration - SI, and their associated gradients) and the foraging distribution (time at sea) of female southern elephant seals using generalized linear and generalized additive models (GLM and GAM). Using data from 28 separate foraging trips (22 unique individuals) over two years, we found that during the post-lactation trips (summer), the best GLM demonstrated a negative relationship between time at sea and SST and BA, but a positive relationship with SST gradient and SSH. During the post-moult (winter) trips, there was a negative relationship with OC gradient, SSH, and BA. The best post-lactation GAM identified a positive relationship with OC gradient, negative relationships with OC and SST gradient, and a non-linear relationship with SST. For the post-moult trip there was a negative relationship with OC, SST, BA and BA gradient, and a positive relationship with SST gradient. The relationship between the predicted time and observed time at sea was significant only for the post-lactation GAM, although predictability was low. That SST and its gradient predicted a small, but significant proportion of the variation in time at sea is indicative of the frontal zones within this area that are generally more biologically productive than surrounding regions. It appears that coarse-scale oceanographic configuration influences foraging behaviour in southern elephant seals only subtly. Nonetheless, some of the mechanisms influencing predator foraging are congruent with expectations of distribution of marine food resources at coarse spatial scales. © 2004 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bradshaw, CJA (Dr Corey Bradshaw)
UTAS Author:Higgins, J (Dr Jane Higgins)
UTAS Author:Michael, KJ (Dr Kelvin Michael)
UTAS Author:Wotherspoon, SJ (Dr Simon Wotherspoon)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:31673
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:55
Deposited By:IASOS
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2005-06-06

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