[MARMAM] New paper on habitat use of Galapagos sea lions (Ignasi Montero-Serra)

Ignasi Montero Serra monteroserra at gmail.com
Fri Apr 18 04:17:44 PDT 2014

Dear Collegues,

The following paper was published last week:

Montero-Serra I, Páez-Rosas D, Murillo JC, Vegas-Vilarrúbia T, Fietz K,
Denkinger J (2014) Environment-driven changes in terrestrial habitat use
and distribution of the Galapagos sea lion. *Endangered Species Research*.
49, 9-18

ABSTRACT: Understanding habitat use patterns of marine apex predators is of
paramount importance for the effective design of conservation plans. Due to
their amphibious life cycle, pinnipeds are one of the most vulnerable
groups to habitat loss and degradation. Reducing knowledge gaps that still
exist regarding temporal changes in tropical pinniped habitat use is
therefore of particular importance for conservation efforts. We analyzed
terrestrial habitat use phenology of a tropical otariid, the Galapagos sea
lion *Zalophus wollebaeki.* Regular land-based censuses were carried out in
Wreck Bay of San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos, between 2008 and 2012 to
explore seasonal changes in sea lion abundance, distribution, and
preferences among different habitat types. A daily cycle of haul-out
patterns was observed. Animals aggregated on sandy beaches during the
coldest periods of the day and were more abundant on rocky and artificial
structures when air temperature was warmer. The use of artificial floating
platforms as resting places by *Z. wollebaeki* was described for the first
time and linked to environmental variability, suggesting that this may be a
successful management tool for pinnipeds inhabiting low latitudes. Further,
this species demonstrated seasonal distribution changes, aggregating in
high densities during warm seasons and maintaining more even distributions
during cold seasons. Sea surface temperature, air temperature, and the
onset of the breeding season were the variables that most significantly
influenced haul-out patterns of *Z. wollebaeki*, indicating that this
species can adapt to changing environmental conditions by displaying a high
degree of plasticity regarding its distribution and terrestrial
microhabitat preferences.

Those interested in receiving a PDF copy please contact me at:
monteroserra at gmail.com

Best regards,

Ignasi Montero-Serra

PhD Student

Department d'Ecologia, Universitat de Barcelona
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