Ontogeny of early diving and foraging behavior of northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) pups from Bering Island, Russia Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The ontogeny of diving and foraging behavior of northern fur seal pups from a stable population on Bering Island, Russia, was recorded with animal-borne instruments during their first few months at sea, a critical period during their first year at sea. Thirty-five pups were instrumented with satellite-linked time-depth recorders and stomach temperature pills. Diving occurred predominantly at night with deeper and longer dives as the pups matured. Mean dive depths were correlated with lunar illumination, whereas mean dive durations were also correlated with time of day and sex. Foraging success did not differ between sexes, and there was no relationship between meal size (as indicated by feeding event duration and minimum stomach temperature) and lunar illumination fraction or maximum foraging depth. Although most pups were able to successfully forage within 3 days of starting their migration, the number of feeding events recorded each day remained low (mean 1.6 events day -1 ). There was no indication of an appreciable increase in meal size after the first 2 weeks of the migration despite an increase in dive frequency and depth. The results are consistent with observations that pups do not gain mass during their first year and emphasize the risk of starvation from infrequent foraging in cold water. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, O., Andrews, R. D., Burkanov, V. N., & Davis, R. W.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • May 2014