Diving and feeding strategies of southern elephant seals of Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands (2016-2017)

The dataseries comprises of sixteen time-depth recorders (Mk9, Wildlife Computers) deployed on southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) breeding females at the end of their suckling period, to study diving and feeding strategies while they are at sea. The deployment was carried out at Sea Lion Island, the main breeding colony of southern elephant seals in the Falkland Islands. This is the first study of elephant seal diving carried out in the Falklands, and complement our previous study carried out with satellite tags to determine female movements, foraging areas and overlap with human activities at sea. We obtained full diving profiles of six females. These diving profiles confirmed the main results of previous studies (satellite tags, stable isotopes analysis) of Sea Lion Island elephant seal females, i.e., the unusually large variability in individual feeding strategies. These females not only choose different foraging areas with very different oceanographic characteristics, but also show a large variation of overall diving profile, maximum depth achieved, and average depth and duration of dives. This is another indication that they have a wide range of feeding strategies, as was suggested by stable isotope analysis. The study is currently ongoing and 9 time-depth recorders will be deployed during the 2019 breeding season. Further information is available on the research group website, www.eleseal.org.

Data and Resources

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Additional Info

Field Value
Last Updated December 14, 2020, 09:55 (PST)
Created January 30, 2020, 05:23 (PST)
Region Falkland Islands
Language eng
Topic Category Biota; flora and/or fauna in natural environment
Temporal Extent Start 2016-01-01
Temporal Extent End 2017-12-31
Dataset Reference Date 2017
Lineage TDR deployments were carried out on mature breeding females that were close to weaning of the pup and return to sea. We selected females with a well know breeding history, and that were observed to come back to Sea Lion Island for the moult in previous season. Wildlife Computers' Mk9 were chosen because they are TDRs of proven reliability that were frequently deployed on elephant seals. Females were sedated using a standard protocol (Zoletil, initial intramuscular injection, top up on the extradural vein if required), TDRs were attached to their head using two components epoxy glue, and subjects were monitored until full recovery. All females successfully weaned their pup and returned to sea. TDRs were recovered when females came back to Sea Lion Island for the moult. We regularly monitored returned females to spot sign of detachment of the TDR. As soon as possible the removed the TDR from the head by using a custom made tool mounted on a pole by simply lifting it. Removal produced just a short disturbance to the subjects, and all of them successfully completed their moult and came back to sea for the post-moulting migration. After removal, TDRs data was downloaded using the custom software provided by the producer. Downloading was successful in all cases. Diving profiles and statistics were obtained using custom scripts. ). For access to data please contact the data owner
West Longitude -64.247
South Latitude -55.201
East Longitude -52.163
North Latitude -47.315
Spatial Reference System WGS84
Responsible Organisation Name Hidden (personal data protection)
Contact Mail Address Hidden (personal data protection)
Responsible Party Role Hidden (personal data protection)
Access Limitations Restricted, send data request to data owner
Use Constraints Restricted, but open subject to limitations and prior agreement with responsible organisation. Copyright must be cited
Resource Reference Copyright ESRG 1995-present - All Rights Reserved. Please contact ESRG before citing unpublished reports.
Data Format csv
Update Frequency not planned
Accuracy sensor accuracy estimated to be
Resource Type Dataseries
Original Title Hidden (internal use only)
Metadata Date 2019-04-03
Metadata Point of Contact datamanager@saeri.ac.fk
Contact Consent Contact details hidden
Unique Resource ID FK-ESRG-385

Dataset extent

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