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Pup vibrissae stable isotopes reveal geographic differences in adult female southern sea lion habitat use during gestation

  • Individuals within populations often differ substantially in habitat use, the ecological consequences of which can be far reaching. Stable isotope analysis provides a convenient and often cost effective means of indirectly assessing the habitat use of individuals that can yield valuable insights into the spatiotemporal distribution of foraging specialisations within a population. Here we use the stable isotope ratios of southern sea lion (Otaria flavescens) pup vibrissae at the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic, as a proxy for adult female habitat use during gestation. A previous study found that adult females from one breeding colony (Big Shag Island) foraged in two discrete habitats, inshore (coastal) or offshore (outer Patagonian Shelf). However, as this species breeds at over 70 sites around the Falkland Islands, it is unclear if this pattern is representative of the Falkland Islands as a whole. In order to characterize habitat use, we therefore assayed carbon (delta C-13) and nitrogen (delta N-15) ratios from 65 southernIndividuals within populations often differ substantially in habitat use, the ecological consequences of which can be far reaching. Stable isotope analysis provides a convenient and often cost effective means of indirectly assessing the habitat use of individuals that can yield valuable insights into the spatiotemporal distribution of foraging specialisations within a population. Here we use the stable isotope ratios of southern sea lion (Otaria flavescens) pup vibrissae at the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic, as a proxy for adult female habitat use during gestation. A previous study found that adult females from one breeding colony (Big Shag Island) foraged in two discrete habitats, inshore (coastal) or offshore (outer Patagonian Shelf). However, as this species breeds at over 70 sites around the Falkland Islands, it is unclear if this pattern is representative of the Falkland Islands as a whole. In order to characterize habitat use, we therefore assayed carbon (delta C-13) and nitrogen (delta N-15) ratios from 65 southern sea lion pup vibrissae, sampled across 19 breeding colonies at the Falkland Islands. Model-based clustering of pup isotope ratios identified three distinct clusters, representing adult females that foraged inshore, offshore, and a cluster best described as intermediate. A significant difference was found in the use of inshore and offshore habitats between West and East Falkland and between the two colonies with the largest sample sizes, both of which are located in East Falkland. However, habitat use was unrelated to the proximity of breeding colonies to the Patagonian Shelf, a region associated with enhanced biological productivity. Our study thus points towards other factors, such as local oceanography and its influence on resource distribution, playing a prominent role in inshore and offshore habitat use.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Alastair M. M. Baylis, Gabriele Joanna KowalskiORCiD, Christian C. Voigt, Rachael A. OrbenORCiD, Fritz Trillmich, Iain J. Staniland, Joseph I. HoffmanORCiD
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus4-411842
DOI:https://doi.org/10.25932/publishup-41184
ISSN:1866-8372
Parent Title (English):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Reihe
Series (Serial Number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Reihe (546)
Document Type:Postprint
Language:English
Date of first Publication:2019/01/24
Year of Completion:2016
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2019/01/24
Tag:Falkland islands; Patagonian Shelf; diet; ecology; marine predator; otters; patterns; population; specialization
Issue:546
Pagenumber:11
Source:PLOS ONE 11 (2016) 6, Art. e0157394 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0157394
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 50 Naturwissenschaften / 500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Open Access
Grantor:Public Library of Science (PLOS)
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International