Selection of diving strategy by Antarctic fur seals depends on where and when foraging takes place

Simon D Goldsworthy, Brad Page, Andrew Welling, Magaly Chambellant, Corey J.A. Bradshaw

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11 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the spatial and temporal distribution of foraging effort by lactating Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella at Heard Island using satellite telemetry and time-depth recorders. Two principal diving types were identified: 'deep' dives averaging 48.6 m, and 'shallow' dives averaging 8.6 m. Discriminant function analyses were used to assign dives based on their depth and duration. Generalised linear mixed-effects models of night dives (>80% of all dives) indicated both spatial and temporal effects on the distribution of deep and shallow dives. Deep dives were more common in the deeper shelf waters of the Kerguelen Plateau, and these dives predominantly occurred after sunset and before sunrise. In contrast, shallow dives were more common in slope waters on the southeastern margin of the Kerguelen Plateau in the hours either side of local midnight. We suggest that these 2 distinct diving types reflect the targeting of channichthyid (deep dives) and myctophid (shallow dives) fish, and are indicative of spatial and temporal differences in the availability of these 2 important prey groups. We also identified 3 distinct behavioural dive groups (based on multidimensional scaling of 19 diving and foraging trip parameters) that also differed in their spatial distribution and in their relative importance of deep and shallow dives. The present study provides some of the first evidence that diving strategies are not only influenced by where foraging takes pace, but also when.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-266
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Ecology-Progress Series
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Diving
  • Arctocephalus gazelle
  • spatial foraging
  • Southern Ocean
  • temporal variability
  • Spatial foraging
  • Temporal variability
  • Southern ocean


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