Journal Article

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

Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Jane Higgins, Kelvin J. Michael, Simon J. Wotherspoon and Mark A. Hindell

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 61, issue 6, pages 1014-1027
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2004.07.012
At-sea distribution of female southern elephant seals relative to variation in ocean surface properties

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

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.

Keywords: bathymetry; elephant seals; environmental variation; generalized additive model; generalized linear model; oceanography; sea surface temperature

Journal Article.  7403 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.