Return customers : foraging site fidelity and the effect of environmental variability in wide-ranging Antarctic fur seals

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dc.contributor.author Arthur, Benjamin
dc.contributor.author Hindell, Mark A.
dc.contributor.author Bester, Marthan Nieuwoudt
dc.contributor.author Trathan, Phil
dc.contributor.author Jonsen, Ian
dc.contributor.author Staniland, Lain
dc.contributor.author Oosthuizen, W.C. (Wessel Christiaan)
dc.contributor.author Wege, Mia
dc.contributor.author Lea, Mary-Anne
dc.date.accessioned 2015-07-04T07:43:19Z
dc.date.available 2015-07-04T07:43:19Z
dc.date.issued 2015-03-25
dc.description.abstract Strategies employed by wide-ranging foraging animals involve consideration of habitat quality and predictability and should maximise net energy gain. Fidelity to foraging sites is common in areas of high resource availability or where predictable changes in resource availability occur. However, if resource availability is heterogeneous or unpredictable, as it often is in marine environments, then habitat familiarity may also present ecological benefits to individuals. We examined the winter foraging distribution of female Antarctic fur seals, Arctocephalus gazelle, over four years to assess the degree of foraging site fidelity at two scales; within and between years. On average, between-year fidelity was strong, with most individuals utilising more than half of their annual foraging home range over multiple years. However, fidelity was a bimodal strategy among individuals, with five out of eight animals recording between-year overlap values of greater than 50%, while three animals recorded values of less than 5%. High long-term variance in sea surface temperature, a potential proxy for elevated long-term productivity and prey availability, typified areas of overlap. Withinyear foraging site fidelity was weak, indicating that successive trips over the winter target different geographic areas. We suggest that over a season, changes in prey availability are predictable enough for individuals to shift foraging area in response, with limited associated energetic costs. Conversely, over multiple years, the availability of prey resources is less spatially and temporally predictable, increasing the potential costs of shifting foraging area and favouring long-term site fidelity. In a dynamic and patchy environment, multi-year foraging site fidelity may confer a long-term energetic advantage to the individual. Such behaviours that operate at the individual level have evolutionary and ecological implications and are potential drivers of niche specialization and modifiers of intra-specific competition. en_ZA
dc.description.librarian am2015 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship The Australian Research Council, Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation Inc. Australia (SWR/6/2013) and the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (L0020491). en_ZA
dc.description.uri http://www.plosone.org en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Arthur B, Hindell M, Bester M, Trathan P, Jonsen I, Staniland I, Oosthuizen, WC, Wege, M & Lea, MA (2015) Return Customers: Foraging Site Fidelity and the Effect of Environmental Variability in Wide-Ranging Antarctic Fur Seals. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0120888. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120888 en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.other 10.1371/journal.pone.0120888
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/46295
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_ZA
dc.rights © 2015 Arthur et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. en_ZA
dc.subject Animals en_ZA
dc.subject Energy gain en_ZA
dc.subject Fidelity en_ZA
dc.subject Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella) en_ZA
dc.title Return customers : foraging site fidelity and the effect of environmental variability in wide-ranging Antarctic fur seals en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA


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