[MARMAM] New publication - Environmental influences on space use of a benthic foraging pinniped

CASSIE NETTINA SPEAKMAN cspeakman at deakin.edu.au
Wed Oct 6 00:47:35 PDT 2021

On-behalf of my co-authors I am pleased to share our new publication in Royal Society Open Science on the environmental influences on space use of the benthic foraging Australian fur seal.

Speakman, CN, Hoskins, AJ, Hindell, MA, Costa, DP, Hartog, JR, Hobday, AJ, & Arnould, JPY (2021) Influence of environmental variation on spatial distribution and habitat-use in a benthic foraging marine predator. Royal Society Open Science. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.211052

The highly dynamic nature of the marine environment can have substantial influence on the foraging behaviour and spatial distribution of marine predators, particularly in pelagic marine systems. However, knowledge of the susceptibility of benthic marine predators to environmental variability is limited. This study investigated the influence of local-scale environmental conditions and large-scale climate indices on the spatial distribution and habitat use in the benthic foraging Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus). Female AUFS provisioning pups were instrumented with GPS or ARGOS platform terminal transmitter (PTT) tags during the austral winters of 2001-2019 at Kanowna Island, south-eastern Australia. Individuals were most susceptible to changes in the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), that measures the strength of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with larger foraging ranges, greater distances travelled and more dispersed movement associated with 1-yr lagged La Niña-like conditions. Additionally, the total distance travelled was negatively correlated with the current year sea-surface temperature and 1-yr lagged Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), and positively correlated with 1-yr lagged chlorophyll-a concentration. These results suggest that environmental variation may influence the spatial distribution and availability of prey, even within benthic marine systems.

Access to the Open Access article: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.211052

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me:
cspeakman at deakin.edu.au

Cassie Speakman
PhD candidate & casual academic
School of Life & Environmental Sciences
Deakin University, Burwood VIC

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