Individual history of movement and the dispersal of southern elephant seals

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dc.contributor.advisor Bester, Marthan Nieuwoudt
dc.contributor.postgraduate Hofmeyr, G.J. Greg (Gordon John Gregory)
dc.date.accessioned 2013-09-09T07:35:48Z
dc.date.available 2013-05-15 en
dc.date.available 2013-09-09T07:35:48Z
dc.date.created 2013-04-12 en
dc.date.issued 2013-05-15 en
dc.date.submitted 2013-05-05 en
dc.description Thesis (PhD)--University of Pretoria, 2013. en
dc.description.abstract While studies of dispersal note significant fidelity to natal site and to the site of first reproduction, few consider fidelity to other sites, and none have done so systematically. This study examined fidelity to all terrestrial sites within the study area during the course of its life, by a migratory marine predator, the southern elephant seal, Mirounga leonina. It also attempted to assess the role played by the winter haulout in terms of site fidelity. Finally it examined the influence of possible deterioration in spatial memory over time on site fidelity. The data used in this study were generated by a long-term mark-recapture programme conducted at subantarctic Marion Island. Although immature elephant seals of both sexes return to the vicinity of their natal sites, they appear to avoid popular breeding beaches, returning closest to the site previously used. At the first reproductive haulout, however, females return closer to their natal site than any other site, while males, although hauling out in the vicinity of their natal site, haul out closest to sites used in the year prior to the first breeding haulout. Subsequently, adults of both sexes breed closest to the breeding haulout of the previous year and moult closest to the moult haulout of the previous year. While males show greater site fidelity during the breeding season, there is no difference in site fidelity during the moult. Primiparous females show greater levels of site fidelity if recorded in the study site as an immature animal during either the winter or the moult haulouts. Also in female elephant seals, lower site fidelity is associated with an increase in the duration of period of absence from a site, and a lower number of visits to a site. Various factors related to site familiarity, social factors and anthropogenic disturbance may be responsible for the lack of strict site fidelity that is evident. Dispersal patterns may differ between the sexes due to differences in their life history. While purpose of the winter haulout by immature seals may be to increase familiarity with haulout sites, and thus site fidelity, the moult haulout also plays a role. en
dc.description.availability Unrestricted en
dc.description.department Zoology and Entomology en
dc.identifier.citation Hofmeyr, GJG 2013, Individual history of movement and the dispersal of southern elephant seals, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05052013-141327/ > en
dc.identifier.other D13/4/481/ag en
dc.identifier.upetdurl http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05052013-141327/ en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/30805
dc.language.iso en
dc.publisher University of Pretoria
dc.rights © 2013 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria. en
dc.subject UCTD en
dc.subject Mirounga leonina
dc.subject Southern elephant seals
dc.subject Habitat selection
dc.subject Subantarctic
dc.title Individual history of movement and the dispersal of southern elephant seals en
dc.type Thesis en


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