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Tracking and data-logging devices attached to elephant seals do not affect individual mass gain or survival

McMahon, Clive, Field, Iain, Bradshaw, Corey, White, G. and Hindell, Mark A. (2008). Tracking and data-logging devices attached to elephant seals do not affect individual mass gain or survival. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology,360(2):71-77.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 19 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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IRMA ID 79264438xPUB42
Title Tracking and data-logging devices attached to elephant seals do not affect individual mass gain or survival
Author McMahon, Clive
Field, Iain
Bradshaw, Corey
White, G.
Hindell, Mark A.
Journal Name Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Publication Date 2008
Volume Number 360
Issue Number 2
ISSN 0022-0981   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-44449172539
Start Page 71
End Page 77
Total Pages 7
Place of Publication Amsterdam
Publisher Elsevier B.V.
Field of Research 0602 - Ecology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Understanding the cryptic lives of wide–ranging wild animals such as seals can be challenging, but with the advent of miniaturised telemetry and data–logging devices this is now possible and relatively straightforward. However, because marine animals have streamline bodies to reduce drag in their aquatic habitats, attaching external devices to their back or head may affect swimming performance, prey capture efficiency and ultimately, fitness. Given this, and allied welfare concerns, we assessed the short- and long-term consequences of external devices attached to southern elephant seal juveniles and adults under varying environmental conditions. We also assessed the effects of multiple deployments on individuals. There was no evidence for short-term differences in at-sea mass gain (measured as mass on arrival from a foraging trip) or long-term survival rate. The number of times that a seal carried a tracking device (ranging from 1 to 8 times) did not affect mass or estimated survival. Further, there were no tracking device effects in years of contrasting environmental conditions measured as ENSO anomalies. Consequently, we conclude that the current tracking devices available to researchers are valuable conservation tools that do not adversely affect the performance of a large marine mammal in terms of mass gain or survival probability over short (seasonal) or long (years) temporal scales.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2008.03.012   (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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Created: Wed, 06 May 2009, 10:35:29 CST by Sarena Wegener