eCite Digital Repository

Differential resource allocation strategies in juvenile elephant seals in the highly seasonal Southern Ocean


Field, IC and Bradshaw, CJA and Burton, HR and Hindell, MA, Differential resource allocation strategies in juvenile elephant seals in the highly seasonal Southern Ocean, Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 331, (February) pp. 281-290. ISSN 0171-8630 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.3354/meps331281


Environmental conditions experienced in early life affect growth and influence life history strategies, especially in seasonal environments. We studied the seasonal and sexual variation in resource allocation in juvenile southern elephant seals to investigate whether they show a seasonal decline in growth. We also examined whether sexual differences in growth may lead to separate growth strategies that suit each sex in maximizing fitness. We examined the variation in length (as a measure of somatic growth), body mass and condition of 470 individual 1- to 4-yr-old elephant seals relative to their different growth strategies. Applying a novel growth function, we observed increased somatic growth in summer compared to winter. Males were larger, had higher proportions of lean tissue and grew faster than females, demonstrating the evolution of a male growth strategy of attaining maximum size quickly, and a female strategy of achieving primiparity at an early age. This evidence supports the idea that seasonal patterns reflect seasonal variation in prey availability and quality, and differential growth strategies promote optimal resource allocation and increase an individual's probability of survival and future breeding success in the highly dynamic and seasonal Southern Ocean. © Inter-Research 2007.

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:Bradshaw, CJA (Dr Corey Bradshaw)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:50729
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2012-03-05

Repository Staff Only: item control page