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Early-life sexual segregation: ontogeny of isotopic niche differentiation in the Antarctic fur seal

Kernaléguen, L., Arnould, J.P.Y., Guinet, C., Cazelles, B., Richard, P. and Cherel, Y. 2016, Early-life sexual segregation: ontogeny of isotopic niche differentiation in the Antarctic fur seal, Scientific reports, vol. 6, Article number: 33211, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.1038/srep33211.

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Title Early-life sexual segregation: ontogeny of isotopic niche differentiation in the Antarctic fur seal
Author(s) Kernaléguen, L.
Arnould, J.P.Y.ORCID iD for Arnould, J.P.Y. orcid.org/0000-0003-1124-9330
Guinet, C.
Cazelles, B.
Richard, P.
Cherel, Y.
Journal name Scientific reports
Volume number 6
Season Article number: 33211
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 2045-2322
Summary Investigating the ontogeny of niche differentiation enables to determine at which life-stages sexual segregation arises, providing insights into the main factors driving resource partitioning. We investigated the ontogeny of foraging ecology in Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella), a highly dimorphic species with contrasting breeding strategies between sexes. Sequential δ(13)C and δ(15)N values of whiskers provided a longitudinal proxy of the foraging niche throughout the whole life of seals, from weaning, when size dimorphism is minimal to the age of 5. Females exhibited an early-life ontogenetic shift, from a total segregation during their first year at-sea, to a similar isotopic niche as breeding females as early as age 2. In contrast, males showed a progressive change in isotopic niche throughout their development such that 5-year-old males did not share the same niche as territorial bulls. Interestingly, males and females segregated straight after weaning with males appearing to feed in more southerly habitats than females. This spatial segregation was of similar amplitude as observed in breeding adults and was maintained throughout development. Such early-life niche differentiation is an unusual pattern and indicates size dimorphism and breeding constraints do not directly drive sexual segregation contrary to what has been assumed in otariid seals.
Language eng
DOI 10.1038/srep33211
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30086394

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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.