Antarctic Science

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Antarctic Science (2009), 21:113-121 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2009

Biological Sciences

Adult male southern elephant seals from King George Island utilize the Weddell Sea

C.A. Tosha1 c1, H. Bornemanna2, S. Ramdohra2, M. Schrödera2, T. Martina3, A. Carlinia4, J. Plötza2 and M.N. Bestera1

a1 Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
a2 Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Postfach 120161, D-27515 Bremerhaven, Germany
a3 Leibniz-Institute of Marine Sciences, IFM-GEOMAR, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany
a4 Instituto Antártico Argentino, Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Cerrito 1248, 1010 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Article author query
tosh ca [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
bornemann h [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
ramdohr s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
schröder m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
martin t [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
carlini a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
plötz j [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
bester mn [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Adult male southern elephant seals instrumented in 2000 on King George Island (n = 13), travelled both to the north (n = 2) and to the east (n = 6) of the Antarctic Peninsula. Five males remained within 500 km of the island focusing movements in the Bransfield Strait and around the Antarctic Peninsula. Sea surface temperatures encountered by these animals showed little variation. While animal trajectories appeared unaffected by sea ice cover, areas of shallow depths were frequented. Three males moved as far as 75°S to the east of the Peninsula with maximum distances of more than 1500 km from King George Island. They travelled into the Weddell Sea along the western continental shelf break until they reached the region of the Filchner Trough outflow. Here the sea floor consists of canyons and ridges that support intensive mixing between the warm saline waters of the Weddell Gyre, the very cold outflow waters and ice shelf water at the Antarctic Slope Front. The need for re-instrumentation of adult males from King George Island is highlighted to investigate whether males continue to travel to similar areas and to obtain higher resolution data.

(Received April 22 2008)

(Accepted July 28 2008)

Key wordsAntarctic Peninsula; area restricted movements; post-moult movements; satellite telemetry; sea ice