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Foraging Behavior of Subantarctic Fur Seals Supports Efficiency of a Marine Reserve's Design.

Kirkman SP, Yemane DG, Lamont T, Meÿer MA, Pistorius PA - PLoS ONE (2016)

Bottom Line: Switching state space models were employed to correct ARGOS tracks and estimate behavioural states for locations along predicted tracks, namely travelling or area restricted search (ARS).Model-predicted suitable habitat occurred within the MPA in relatively close access to the colony during summer and autumn, but shifted northwards concurrently with frontal movements in winter and spring.The association of ARS with the MPA during summer-autumn was highly significant, highlighting the effectiveness of the recently declared reserve's design for capturing suitable foraging habitat for this and probably other marine top predator species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Affairs, Branch Oceans and Coasts, Cape Town, South Africa.

ABSTRACT
Foraging behaviour of marine top predators is increasingly being used to identify areas of ecological importance. This is largely enabled by the ability of many such species to forage extensively in search of prey that is often concentrated in oceanographically productive areas. To identify important habitat in the Southern Indian Ocean within and around South Africa's Prince Edward Islands' Marine Protected Area (MPA), satellite transmitters were deployed on 12 lactating Subantarctic fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis at Prince Edward Island (PEI) itself. Switching state space models were employed to correct ARGOS tracks and estimate behavioural states for locations along predicted tracks, namely travelling or area restricted search (ARS). A random forest model showed that distance from the study colony, longitude and distance from the Subantarctic Front were the most important predictors of suitable foraging habitat (inferred from ARS). Model-predicted suitable habitat occurred within the MPA in relatively close access to the colony during summer and autumn, but shifted northwards concurrently with frontal movements in winter and spring. The association of ARS with the MPA during summer-autumn was highly significant, highlighting the effectiveness of the recently declared reserve's design for capturing suitable foraging habitat for this and probably other marine top predator species.

No MeSH data available.


The location of the Prince Edward Islands in relation to fronts and currents in the Southern Ocean region between Africa and Antarctic.The location of the study area, Cave Bay, marked in the insert.
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pone.0152370.g001: The location of the Prince Edward Islands in relation to fronts and currents in the Southern Ocean region between Africa and Antarctic.The location of the study area, Cave Bay, marked in the insert.

Mentions: Field work took place on PEI (46°38’S, 37°57’E), which is situated about 1 400 km south of South Africa and 19 km to the north of Marion Island (Fig 1), during March 2011. The two islands are located in the highly dynamic oceanic environment between the Subantarctic Front (SAF) and the Antarctic Polar Front (APF). Breeding sites of A. tropicalis are largely concentrated on the east coast of PEI, with only a few suitable beaches to be found on the exposed and cliff-dominated west coast [19]. Cave Bay, where the deployments were made, is a large indentation in the south-eastern coastline of PEI (Fig 1).


Foraging Behavior of Subantarctic Fur Seals Supports Efficiency of a Marine Reserve's Design.

Kirkman SP, Yemane DG, Lamont T, Meÿer MA, Pistorius PA - PLoS ONE (2016)

The location of the Prince Edward Islands in relation to fronts and currents in the Southern Ocean region between Africa and Antarctic.The location of the study area, Cave Bay, marked in the insert.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4862747&req=5

pone.0152370.g001: The location of the Prince Edward Islands in relation to fronts and currents in the Southern Ocean region between Africa and Antarctic.The location of the study area, Cave Bay, marked in the insert.
Mentions: Field work took place on PEI (46°38’S, 37°57’E), which is situated about 1 400 km south of South Africa and 19 km to the north of Marion Island (Fig 1), during March 2011. The two islands are located in the highly dynamic oceanic environment between the Subantarctic Front (SAF) and the Antarctic Polar Front (APF). Breeding sites of A. tropicalis are largely concentrated on the east coast of PEI, with only a few suitable beaches to be found on the exposed and cliff-dominated west coast [19]. Cave Bay, where the deployments were made, is a large indentation in the south-eastern coastline of PEI (Fig 1).

Bottom Line: Switching state space models were employed to correct ARGOS tracks and estimate behavioural states for locations along predicted tracks, namely travelling or area restricted search (ARS).Model-predicted suitable habitat occurred within the MPA in relatively close access to the colony during summer and autumn, but shifted northwards concurrently with frontal movements in winter and spring.The association of ARS with the MPA during summer-autumn was highly significant, highlighting the effectiveness of the recently declared reserve's design for capturing suitable foraging habitat for this and probably other marine top predator species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Affairs, Branch Oceans and Coasts, Cape Town, South Africa.

ABSTRACT
Foraging behaviour of marine top predators is increasingly being used to identify areas of ecological importance. This is largely enabled by the ability of many such species to forage extensively in search of prey that is often concentrated in oceanographically productive areas. To identify important habitat in the Southern Indian Ocean within and around South Africa's Prince Edward Islands' Marine Protected Area (MPA), satellite transmitters were deployed on 12 lactating Subantarctic fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis at Prince Edward Island (PEI) itself. Switching state space models were employed to correct ARGOS tracks and estimate behavioural states for locations along predicted tracks, namely travelling or area restricted search (ARS). A random forest model showed that distance from the study colony, longitude and distance from the Subantarctic Front were the most important predictors of suitable foraging habitat (inferred from ARS). Model-predicted suitable habitat occurred within the MPA in relatively close access to the colony during summer and autumn, but shifted northwards concurrently with frontal movements in winter and spring. The association of ARS with the MPA during summer-autumn was highly significant, highlighting the effectiveness of the recently declared reserve's design for capturing suitable foraging habitat for this and probably other marine top predator species.

No MeSH data available.