Summer diving and haul-out behavior of leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) near mesopredator breeding colonies at Livingston Island, Antarctic Peninsula

TitleSummer diving and haul-out behavior of leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) near mesopredator breeding colonies at Livingston Island, Antarctic Peninsula
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsKrause D.J, Goebel M.E, Marshall G.J, Abernathy K.
JournalMarine Mammal Science
Volume32
Pagination839-867
Date Published2016/07
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0824-0469
Accession NumberWOS:000385006800003
Keywordsanalysis; animal-borne video; apex predator; behavior; chemical; chinstrap penguins; cluster; crab-eater seals; Diving; foraging; habitat use; immobilization; leopard seal; northern elephant seals; observations; pack-ice seals; prydz bay; random forest; south shetland islands; TDR; temporal niche partitioning; video-recorded
Abstract

Leopard seals are conspicuous apex predators in Antarctic coastal ecosystems, yet their foraging ecology is poorly understood. Historically, the ecology of diving vertebrates has been studied using high-resolution time-depth records; however, to date such data have not been available for leopard seals. Twenty-one time-depth recorders were deployed on seasonally resident adult females in January and February between 2008 and 2014. The average deployment length was 13.65 +/- 11.45 d and 40,308 postfilter dives were recorded on 229 foraging trips. Dive durations averaged 2.20 +/- 1.23 min. Dives were shallow with 90.1% measuring 30 m or less, and a mean maximum dive depth of 16.60 +/- 10.99 m. Four dive types were classified using a k-means cluster analysis and compared with corresponding animal-borne video data. Dive activity (number of dives/hour) was concentrated at night, including crepuscular periods. Haul-out probabilities were highest near midday and were positively correlated with available daylight. Visual observations and comparisons of diving activity between and within years suggest individual-based differences of foraging effort by time of day. Finally, dive and video data indicate that in addition to at-surface hunting, benthic searching and facultative scavenging are important foraging strategies for leopard seals near coastal mesopredator breeding colonies.

DOI10.1111/mms.12309
Short TitleMar. Mamm. Sci.
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