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Adult male southern elephant seals from King George Island utilize the Weddell Sea

  • C.A. Tosh (a1), H. Bornemann (a2), S. Ramdohr (a2), M. Schröder (a2), T. Martin (a3), A. Carlini (a4), J. Plötz (a2) and M.N. Bester (a1)...
Abstract
Abstract

Adult male southern elephant seals instrumented in 2000 on King George Island (n = 13), travelled both to the north (n = 2) and to the east (n = 6) of the Antarctic Peninsula. Five males remained within 500 km of the island focusing movements in the Bransfield Strait and around the Antarctic Peninsula. Sea surface temperatures encountered by these animals showed little variation. While animal trajectories appeared unaffected by sea ice cover, areas of shallow depths were frequented. Three males moved as far as 75°S to the east of the Peninsula with maximum distances of more than 1500 km from King George Island. They travelled into the Weddell Sea along the western continental shelf break until they reached the region of the Filchner Trough outflow. Here the sea floor consists of canyons and ridges that support intensive mixing between the warm saline waters of the Weddell Gyre, the very cold outflow waters and ice shelf water at the Antarctic Slope Front. The need for re-instrumentation of adult males from King George Island is highlighted to investigate whether males continue to travel to similar areas and to obtain higher resolution data.

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Corresponding author
*catosh@zoology.up.ac.za
References
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