Variability in sea ice cover and climate elicit sex specific responses in an Antarctic predator

Sara Labrousse*, Jean-Baptiste Sallee, Alexander D. Fraser, Rob A. Massom, Phillip Reid, William Hobbs, Christophe Guinet, Robert Harcourt, Clive McMahon, Matthieu Authier, Frederic Bailleul, Mark A. Hindell, Jean Benoit Charrassin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Contrasting regional changes in Southern Ocean sea ice have occurred over the last 30 years with distinct regional effects on ecosystem structure and function. Quantifying how Antarctic predators respond to such changes provides the context for predicting how climate variability/change will affect these assemblages into the future. Over an 11-year time-series, we examine how inter-annual variability in sea ice concentration and advance affect the foraging behaviour of a top Antarctic predator, the southern elephant seal. Females foraged longer in pack ice in years with greatest sea ice concentration and earliest sea ice advance, while males foraged longer in polynyas in years of lowest sea ice concentration. There was a positive relationship between near-surface meridional wind anomalies and female foraging effort, but not for males. This study reveals the complexities of foraging responses to climate forcing by a poleward migratory predator through varying sea ice property and dynamic anomalies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43236
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. 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.

Keywords

  • SOUTHERN ELEPHANT SEALS
  • DEEP DIVING PREDATOR
  • PACK-ICE
  • ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION
  • EAST ANTARCTICA
  • WEDDELL SEA
  • KRILL
  • ECOSYSTEM
  • BEHAVIOR
  • TRENDS

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