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    Hindell, Mark A. McMahon, Clive R. Bester, Marthán N. Boehme, Lars Costa, Daniel Fedak, Mike A. Guinet, Christophe Herraiz-Borreguero, Laura Harcourt, Robert G. Huckstadt, Luis Kovacs, Kit M. Lydersen, Christian McIntyre, Trevor Muelbert, Monica Patterson, Toby Roquet, Fabien Williams, Guy and Charrassin, Jean-Benoit 2016. Circumpolar habitat use in the southern elephant seal: implications for foraging success and population trajectories. Ecosphere, Vol. 7, Issue. 5, p. e01213.

    Labrousse, Sara Vacquié-Garcia, Jade Heerah, Karine Guinet, Christophe Sallée, Jean-Baptiste Authier, Matthieu Picard, Baptiste Roquet, Fabien Bailleul, Frédéric Hindell, Mark and Charrassin, Jean-Benoit 2015. Winter use of sea ice and ocean water mass habitat by southern elephant seals: The length and breadth of the mystery. Progress in Oceanography, Vol. 137, p. 52.


Deep divers in even deeper seas: habitat use of male southern elephant seals from Marion Island

  • Trevor Mcintyre (a1), Horst Bornemann (a2), Joachim Plötz (a2), Cheryl A. Tosh (a1) and Marthán N. Bester (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 03 August 2012

We describe the habitat use of 22 male southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) satellite tagged at Marion Island between 2004 and 2008. While a few areas of increased utilization appeared to be associated with areas of shallower bathymetry (such as sea-floor ridges and fracture zones), seals in our study did not target other areas of shallow bathymetry within close proximity to Marion Island. Rather, most elephant seals foraged pelagically over very deep water where much variation was evident in diel vertical migration strategies. These strategies resulted in generally deeper and longer dives than what has been reported for male elephant seals from other colonies. No significant differences were recorded for dive durations or dive depths between adults and sub-adults. However, younger animals displayed a positive relationship between dive durations and age, as well as between dive depths and age, while these relationships became negative for older animals. Mixed model outputs suggested that seals increased their aerobic fitness as migrations progressed, enabling them to undertake longer dives. We conclude that Marion Island male elephant seals exhibit much variability in dive strategy and are seemingly capable of exploiting a range of different prey types occurring in various depth layers.

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