Movements of southern elephant seals

Bernie J McConnell, Michael Andre Fedak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Twelve southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) were tracked for an average of 119 days as they left their breeding or moulting beaches on the island of South Georgia between 1990 and 1994. Females travelled either eastward up to 3000 km away to the open Southern Ocean or to the continental shelf on or near the Antarctic Peninsula. Males either stayed close to South Georgia or used South Georgia as a base for shorter trips. The females all left South Georgia in a directed manner at an average rate of 79.4 km/day over at least the first 15 days. Thereafter travel was interrupted by bouts of slower travel or stationary phases. The latter were localized at sites on the continental shelf or along its edge. Three seals that were tracked over more than one season repeated their outward direction of travel and used some of the same sites in subsequent years. The magnitude of the movements makes most of the Southern Ocean potentially available to elephant seals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1485-1496.
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Volume74
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1996

Keywords

  • IDEAL FREE DISTRIBUTION
  • MIROUNGA-LEONINA
  • WATER TEMPERATURE
  • DIVING BEHAVIOR
  • PHOCIDAE
  • GEORGIA
  • DIFFER

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