Hydrographic influences on the summer dive behaviour of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) in Atka Bay, Antarctica


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Horst.Bornemann [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

In order to gain insights into species-level behavioural responses to the physical environment, it is necessary to obtain information from various populations and at all times of year. We analysed the influences of physical environmental parameters on the mid-summer dive behaviour of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) from a little-known population at Atka Bay, Antarctica. Dive depth distributions followed a typical bimodal pattern also exhibited by seals from other populations and seals targeted both shallow water layers of less than 50 m and depths near the seafloor. Increased stratification of temperature layers within the water column resulted in increased forage efforts by the seals through relatively high numbers of dives to the seafloor, as well as forage effort associated with shallow dives. We interpret these behavioural responses to be due to increased water temperature stratification resulting in the concentration of prey species in particular depth layers.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Eprint ID
33492
DOI 10.1007/s00300-013-1384-7

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McIntyre, T. , Stansfield, L. , Bornemann, H. , Plötz, J. and Bester, M. N. (2013): Hydrographic influences on the summer dive behaviour of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) in Atka Bay, Antarctica , Polar Biology . doi: 10.1007/s00300-013-1384-7


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