Steady as he goes

At-sea movement of adult male Australian sea lions in a dynamic marine environment

Andrew D. Lowther, Robert G. Harcourt, Bradley Page, Simon D. Goldsworthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The southern coastline of Australia forms part of the worlds' only northern boundary current system. The Bonney Upwelling occurs every austral summer along the south-eastern South Australian coastline, a region that hosts over 80% of the worlds population of an endangered endemic otariid, the Australian sea lion. We present the first data on the movement characteristics and foraging behaviour of adult male Australian sea lions across their South Australian range. Synthesizing telemetric, oceanographic and isotopic datasets collected from seven individuals enabled us to characterise individual foraging behaviour over an approximate two year time period. Data suggested seasonal variability in stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes that could not be otherwise explained by changes in animal movement patterns. Similarly, animals did not change their foraging patterns despite fine-scale spatial and temporal variability of the upwelling event. Individual males tended to return to the same colony at which they were tagged and utilized the same at-sea regions for foraging irrespective of oceanographic conditions or time of year. Our study contrasts current general assumptions that male otariid life history strategies should result in greater dispersal, with adult male Australian sea lions displaying central place foraging behaviour similar to males of other otariid species in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere74348
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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