[MARMAM] New publication on success of elephant seal migration strategies under different climate conditions

Briana Abrahms - NOAA Affiliate briana.abrahms at noaa.gov
Fri Nov 3 10:16:22 PDT 2017

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to share the recent publication of our paper in Ecology

Abrahms, B., Hazen, E.L., Bograd, S.J., Brashares, J.S., Robinson, P.W.,
Scales, K.L., D. Crocker and Costa, D.P. 2017. Climate mediates the success
of migration strategies in a marine predator
<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12871/full>. Ecology
Letters, DOI:10.1111/ele/12871.

Abstract: Individual behavioural specialisation has far-reaching effects on
fitness and population persistence. Theory predicts that unconditional site
fidelity, that is fidelity to a site independent of past outcome, provides
a fitness advantage in unpredictable environments. However, the benefits of
alternative site fidelity strategies driving intraspecific variation remain
poorly understood and have not been evaluated in different environmental
contexts. We show that contrary to expectation, strong and weak site
fidelity strategies in migratory northern elephant seals performed
similarly over 10 years, but the success of each strategy varied
interannually and was strongly mediated by cli-
mate conditions. Strong fidelity facilitated stable energetic rewards and
low risk, while weak fidelity facilitated high rewards and high risk. Weak
fidelity outperformed strong fidelity in anomalous climate conditions,
suggesting that the evolutionary benefits of site fidelity may be upended
by increasing environmental variability. We highlight how individual
behavioural specialisation may modulate the adaptive capacity of species to
climate change.

A read-only online version of the article can be accessed here:

Best wishes,

Briana Abrahms and coauthors
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