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On- and off-shelf diving effort of juvenile elephant seals from Península Valdés determined by light loggers

Elena Beatríz Eder, Mirtha Noemí Lewis, María Rosa Marín, Claudio Campagna and William F. Perrin
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 92, No. 4 (August 2011), pp. 811-818
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23259881
Page Count: 8
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Abstract

The shallow Patagonian Shelf off Península Valdés limits the dive depth of southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) to <100 m, an unusual circumstance for this deep-diving species. Beyond the shelf water depths of >1,000 m enable the seals to forage deeper and use the entire water column. We compared the diving pattern of 10 juveniles instrumented with light—temperature loggers to determine if diving effort, measured as dive durations longer than the estimated aerobic dive limit, differed between on-shelf and off-shelf waters. The productive Patagonian Shelf, an environment where juveniles showed lower diving effort, also was used commonly by older seals, which likely displaced juveniles off-shelf periodically, where they exhibited increased diving effort. En Patagonia, la plataforma somera frente a Península Valdés restringe la profundidad de los buceos de los elefantes marinos del sur (Mirounga leonina) a menos de 100 m en la mayor parte de su extensión, un comportamiento inusual para estos animales. Fuera de la plataforma, deben buscar su alimento a lo largo de la columna de agua donde las profundidades son > 1000 m. Comparamos los patrones de buceo de diez juveniles de Patagonia equipados con registradores de luz y temperatura, para evaluar diferencias en el esfuerzo de buceo (medido como duraciones mayores al limite aeróbico) en áreas de la Plataforma Patagónica y del océano adyacente. La Plataforma Patagónica, un ambiente en el que el esfuerzo de buceo de los juveniles fue menor, también es un área comúnmente utilizada por animales de mayor edad. Estos posiblemente desplazan periódicamente a los juveniles fuera de la plataforma donde se ven forzados a incrementar su esfuerzo de buceo.

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