Interannual variation in survival of juvenile Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica: effects of cohort, sex and age

K K Hastings, J W Testa, E A Rexstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Survival of juvenile Weddell seals Leptonychotes weddellii in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica was examined using 25 years of tagging and resighting data. Using mark-recapture models, we estimated age- and sex-specific apparent survival (survival confounded with emigration) rates of Weddell seals from birth to 6 years of age for 17 cohorts (1973-89). Survival in the first 2 years of life (0.429 and 0.635 for the first and second years, respectively) was lower than annual survival after 2 years of age (0.806), and was significantly lower for males than for females. First-year survival of the 1978 and 1983 cohorts was significantly lower than average first-year survival across cohorts. Reproductive rate of adult females was significantly correlated with first-year survival in concurrent years, but not when first-year survival lagged reproductive rate by 1 year nor with annual survival after 1 year of age. This correlation, however, was only significant in male first-year survival, possibly indicating that survival of males is more dependent on maternal or environmental conditions than survival of females. Average weaning mass varied significantly among cohorts and was nearly correlated to reproductive rate of adult females. This may indicate that maternal condition is reduced in years of low reproduction although more data are needed to test this conclusively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-323
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Zoology
Volume248
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999

Keywords

  • Weddell seals
  • juvenile survival
  • Leptonychotes weddellii
  • mark-recapture
  • population dynamics
  • POPULATION-DYNAMICS
  • UNEQUAL CATCHABILITY
  • CALLORHINUS-URSINUS
  • MARKED ANIMALS
  • LEOPARD SEALS
  • RED DEER
  • PATTERNS
  • PINNIPEDIA
  • HYPOTHESES
  • MORTALITY

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