Effect of seasonal changes in upwelling activity on the foraging locations of a wide-ranging central-place forager, the New Zealand fur seal

A. M M Baylis, B. Page, S. D. Goldsworthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lactating New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri (Lesson, 1828)) that breed at Cape Gantheaume, South Australia, experience broad-scale seasonal changes in ocean productivity. To assess how seasonal changes in ocean productivity influenced foraging behaviour, 18 lactating New Zealand fur seals were fitted with satellite transmitters and time-depth recorders (TDRs). Using temperature and depth data from TDRs, we used the presence of thermoclines as a surrogate measure of upwelling activity in continental-shelf waters. During the austral autumn 80% of lactating fur seals foraged on the continental shelf (114 ± 44 km from the colony), in a region associated with the Bonney upwelling. In contrast, during winter months seals predominantly foraged in oceanic waters (62%), in a region associated with the Subtropical Front (460 ± 138 km from the colony). Our results indicate that lactating New Zealand fur seals shift their foraging location from continental-shelf to oceanic waters in response to a seasonal decline in productivity over the continental shelf, attributed to the cessation of the Bonney upwelling. This study identified two regions used by lactating New Zealand fur seals: (1) a nearby and seasonally productive upwelling system and (2) a distant and permanent oceanic front.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-789
Number of pages16
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Volume86
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes

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