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Loyalty pays: potential life history consequences of fidelity to marine foraging regions by southern elephant seals

Bradshaw, Corey J. A., Hindell, Mark A., Sumner, Michael D. and Michael, Kelvin J. (2004). Loyalty pays: potential life history consequences of fidelity to marine foraging regions by southern elephant seals. Animal Behaviour,68(6):1349-1360.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Loyalty pays: potential life history consequences of fidelity to marine foraging regions by southern elephant seals
Author Bradshaw, Corey J. A.
Hindell, Mark A.
Sumner, Michael D.
Michael, Kelvin J.
Journal Name Animal Behaviour
Publication Date 2004
Volume Number 68
Issue Number 6
ISSN 0003-3472   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-9944244581
Start Page 1349
End Page 1360
Total Pages 12
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Field of Research C1
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Choices made by foraging animals should maximize energy intake, although 'irrational' short-term behaviours are common. One explanation for this is that environmental variation may lead to the evolution of behaviours that benefit individual reproductive output, but only over long timescales. Longterm (multiyear) fidelity to foraging regions in extremely variable environments may confer ecological benefits to individuals, such as familiarity with resources, even when energy gain is not consistently high in all years. We examined the annual foraging ranges (sometimes exceeding 3.5 million km(2)) of female southern elephant seals, Mirounga leonina, over 4 years and found that individuals used preferred regions year after year. We hypothesized that the degree of fidelity in a particular year was related to the foraging success (a measured by mass gain) in the previous year; however, there was no significant relation between the two. Despite this high variation in annual foraging success, the regions revisited in consecutive years provided higher potential food production as measured by higher variance in sea surface temperatures over two decades (a surrogate measure of ocean productivity). The evolution of long-term fidelity assisted by simple navigational rules may confer energetic advantages over an individual's lifetime and explain the existence of seemingly nonadaptive short-term behaviours. (C) 2004 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords antarctic circumpolar current
mirounga-leonina
surface temperatures
spatial-distribution
macquarie island
polar front
fur seals
movements
scale
penguins
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.12.013   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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