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Use of Anthropogenic Sea Floor Structures by Australian Fur Seals: Potential Positive Ecological Impacts of Marine Industrial Development?

Arnould JP, Monk J, Ierodiaconou D, Hindell MA, Semmens J, Hoskins AJ, Costa DP, Abernathy K, Marshall GJ - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Human-induced changes to habitats can have deleterious effects on many species that occupy them.However, some species can adapt and even benefit from such modifications.No relationships were found between the amount of time spent frequenting anthropogenic structures and individual characteristics.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Human-induced changes to habitats can have deleterious effects on many species that occupy them. However, some species can adapt and even benefit from such modifications. Artificial reefs have long been used to provide habitat for invertebrate communities and promote local fish populations. With the increasing demand for energy resources within ocean systems, there has been an expansion of infrastructure in near-shore benthic environments which function as de facto artificial reefs. Little is known of their use by marine mammals. In this study, the influence of anthropogenic sea floor structures (pipelines, cable routes, wells and shipwrecks) on the foraging locations of 36 adult female Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) was investigated. For 9 (25%) of the individuals, distance to anthropogenic sea floor structures was the most important factor in determining the location of intensive foraging activity. Whereas the influence of anthropogenic sea floor structures on foraging locations was not related to age and mass, it was positively related to flipper length/standard length (a factor which can affect manoeuvrability). A total of 26 (72%) individuals tracked with GPS were recorded spending time in the vicinity of structures (from <1% to >75% of the foraging trip duration) with pipelines and cable routes being the most frequented. No relationships were found between the amount of time spent frequenting anthropogenic structures and individual characteristics. More than a third (35%) of animals foraging near anthropogenic sea floor structures visited more than one type of structure. These results further highlight potentially beneficial ecological outcomes of marine industrial development.

No MeSH data available.


MaxEnt predictions of suitable foraging habitat for three of adult female Australian fur seals from the Kanowna Isl and colony.a) individualization towards shipwreck areas (individual 36); b) individualization towards pipeline/cable areas (individual 11); c) individualization towards oil well areas (individual 25).
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pone.0130581.g003: MaxEnt predictions of suitable foraging habitat for three of adult female Australian fur seals from the Kanowna Isl and colony.a) individualization towards shipwreck areas (individual 36); b) individualization towards pipeline/cable areas (individual 11); c) individualization towards oil well areas (individual 25).

Mentions: A total of 36 individuals were recaptured after 1–8 foraging trips to sea (3–55 d). However, the majority (70%) of individuals were recaptured after a single trip and battery life limitations of the GPS logger resulted in only 5 individuals having full data sets for more than one complete trip. Hence, to remove the potential for bias from individuals with records of multiple foraging trips, only the first foraging trip (6.0 ± 0.6 d; 855 ± 111 dives) of each individual was used in further analyses. Their tracks (S1 File) and the locations of their intensive foraging areas were determined in relation to environmental and anthropogenic features (S2 File and Fig 2). All MaxEnt models returned AUC values > 0.90 suggesting strong performing models (Table 1). The MaxEnt models highlighted the individualisation of intensive foraging regions by the seals (Fig 3).


Use of Anthropogenic Sea Floor Structures by Australian Fur Seals: Potential Positive Ecological Impacts of Marine Industrial Development?

Arnould JP, Monk J, Ierodiaconou D, Hindell MA, Semmens J, Hoskins AJ, Costa DP, Abernathy K, Marshall GJ - PLoS ONE (2015)

MaxEnt predictions of suitable foraging habitat for three of adult female Australian fur seals from the Kanowna Isl and colony.a) individualization towards shipwreck areas (individual 36); b) individualization towards pipeline/cable areas (individual 11); c) individualization towards oil well areas (individual 25).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4488539&req=5

pone.0130581.g003: MaxEnt predictions of suitable foraging habitat for three of adult female Australian fur seals from the Kanowna Isl and colony.a) individualization towards shipwreck areas (individual 36); b) individualization towards pipeline/cable areas (individual 11); c) individualization towards oil well areas (individual 25).
Mentions: A total of 36 individuals were recaptured after 1–8 foraging trips to sea (3–55 d). However, the majority (70%) of individuals were recaptured after a single trip and battery life limitations of the GPS logger resulted in only 5 individuals having full data sets for more than one complete trip. Hence, to remove the potential for bias from individuals with records of multiple foraging trips, only the first foraging trip (6.0 ± 0.6 d; 855 ± 111 dives) of each individual was used in further analyses. Their tracks (S1 File) and the locations of their intensive foraging areas were determined in relation to environmental and anthropogenic features (S2 File and Fig 2). All MaxEnt models returned AUC values > 0.90 suggesting strong performing models (Table 1). The MaxEnt models highlighted the individualisation of intensive foraging regions by the seals (Fig 3).

Bottom Line: Human-induced changes to habitats can have deleterious effects on many species that occupy them.However, some species can adapt and even benefit from such modifications.No relationships were found between the amount of time spent frequenting anthropogenic structures and individual characteristics.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Human-induced changes to habitats can have deleterious effects on many species that occupy them. However, some species can adapt and even benefit from such modifications. Artificial reefs have long been used to provide habitat for invertebrate communities and promote local fish populations. With the increasing demand for energy resources within ocean systems, there has been an expansion of infrastructure in near-shore benthic environments which function as de facto artificial reefs. Little is known of their use by marine mammals. In this study, the influence of anthropogenic sea floor structures (pipelines, cable routes, wells and shipwrecks) on the foraging locations of 36 adult female Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) was investigated. For 9 (25%) of the individuals, distance to anthropogenic sea floor structures was the most important factor in determining the location of intensive foraging activity. Whereas the influence of anthropogenic sea floor structures on foraging locations was not related to age and mass, it was positively related to flipper length/standard length (a factor which can affect manoeuvrability). A total of 26 (72%) individuals tracked with GPS were recorded spending time in the vicinity of structures (from <1% to >75% of the foraging trip duration) with pipelines and cable routes being the most frequented. No relationships were found between the amount of time spent frequenting anthropogenic structures and individual characteristics. More than a third (35%) of animals foraging near anthropogenic sea floor structures visited more than one type of structure. These results further highlight potentially beneficial ecological outcomes of marine industrial development.

No MeSH data available.