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Age-related shifts in the diet composition of southern elephant seals expand overall foraging niche

Field, Iain Craig, Bradshaw, Corey J. A., van den Hoff, J., Burton, H. and Hindell, Mark A. (2007). Age-related shifts in the diet composition of southern elephant seals expand overall foraging niche. Marine Biology: international journal on life in oceans and coastal waters,150(6):1441-1452.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 30 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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IRMA ID 78671349xPUB19
Title Age-related shifts in the diet composition of southern elephant seals expand overall foraging niche
Author Field, Iain Craig
Bradshaw, Corey J. A.
van den Hoff, J.
Burton, H.
Hindell, Mark A.
Journal Name Marine Biology: international journal on life in oceans and coastal waters
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 150
Issue Number 6
ISSN 1432-1793   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-33847273543
Start Page 1441
End Page 1452
Total Pages 12
Place of Publication Berlin
Publisher Springer Publishing Company
Field of Research 0602 - Ecology
0608 - Zoology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Southern elephant seals are important apex predators in a highly variable and unpredictable marine environment. In the presence of resource limitation, foraging behaviours evolve to reduce intra-specific competition increasing a species' overall probability of successful foraging. We examined the diet of 141 (aged 1-3 years) juvenile southern elephant seals to test the hypotheses that differences between ages, sexes and seasons in diet structure occur. We described prey species composition for common squid and fish species and the mean size of cephalopod prey items for these age groups. Three cephalopod species dominated the stomach samples, Alluroteuthis antarcticus, Histioteuthis eltaninae and Slosarczykovia circumantarcticus. We found age-related differences in both species composition and size of larger prey species that probably relate to ontogenetic changes in diving ability and haul-out behaviour and prey availability. These changes in foraging behaviour and diet are hypothesised to reduce intra-specific food competition concomitant with the increase in foraging niche of growing juveniles.
Keywords squid moroteuthis ingens
acid signature analysis
king geaorge island
mirounga leonina
marine mammals
heard island
ontogenic changes
population status
macquarie island
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00227-006-0417-y   (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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