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Dive behaviour, foraging locations and maternal-attendance patterns in Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus)

Arnould, John and Hindell, Mark A. 2001, Dive behaviour, foraging locations and maternal-attendance patterns in Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus), Canadian journal of zoology, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 35-48.

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Title Dive behaviour, foraging locations and maternal-attendance patterns in Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus)
Formatted title Dive behaviour, foraging locations and maternal attendance-patterns in Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus)
Author(s) Arnould, John
Hindell, Mark A.
Journal name Canadian journal of zoology
Volume number 79
Issue number 1
Start page 35
End page 48
Publisher National Research Council
Place of publication Ottawa, Ont.
Publication date 2001-01
ISSN 0008-4301
1480-3283
Keyword(s) Southern fur seals
behaviour
lactation
foraging behaviour
Summary The dive behaviour, foraging locations, and colony-attendance patterns of female Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) from Kanowna Island (39°10'S, 146°18'E) in Bass Strait, southeastern Australia, were determined throughout lactation during 1997–1999. Foraging-trip durations increased as lactation progressed, being shortest in summer (3.71 ± 0.24 days; mean ± 1 SE) and longest in winter (6.77 ± 0.57 days, P < 0.05), but maternal-attendance periods did not differ in duration (1.70 ± 0.10 days, P > 0.5). Individual mean attendance periods and trip durations were positively correlated (r2 = 0.21, P < 0.005). Diving commenced shortly after seals left the colony (2.6 ± 0.4 h), was continuous for long periods (up to 36 h), occurred mostly during daylight hours, and lacked regular diel variation in depth. The majority of dives (78%) were typically U-shaped and reached depths corresponding to the prevailing depths in Bass Strait (65–85 m), indicating that these animals forage mostly on the benthos of the shallow continental shelf in this region. Such behaviour is unusual for fur seals but is reminiscent of that of some sea lion species. Mean dive durations varied between 2.0 and 3.7 min (maximum 8.9 min) and the theoretical aerobic dive limit (3.91–4.26 min) was exceeded on 17.3% of dives. Dive frequency (8.3 ± 0.6/h) and the proportion of time at sea spent diving (40.7 ± 2.1%) were weakly negatively related to the duration of the foraging trip (r2= 0.07, P < 0.004, and r2 = 0.13, P < 0.0001, respectively). Data from at-sea locations showed that lactating females forage almost exclusively within Bass Strait during all seasons.
Language eng
Field of Research 060801 Animal Behaviour
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2001, NRC Canada
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30015951

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.