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EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES > MAMMALS

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  • Metadata record for data from ASAC Project 545 See the link below for public details on this project. From the abstract of the referenced paper: Blood was collected for haematological, red cell enzyme and red cell metabolic intermediate studies from 20 Southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina. Mean haematological values were: haemoglobin (Hb) 22.4 plus or minus 1.4 g/dl, packed cell volume (PCV) 54.2 plus or minus 3.8%, mean cell volume (MCV) 213 plus or minus 5 fl and red cell count (RCC) 2.5 x 10 to power 12 / l. Red cell morphology was unremarkable. Most of the red cell enzymes showed low activity in comparison with human red cells. Haemoglobin electrophoresis showed a typical pinniped pattern, ie two major components. Total leucocyte counts, platelet counts, and coagulation studies were within expected mammalian limits. Eosinophil counts varied from 0.5 x 10 to power 9 / l (5%-49%), and there was a very wide variation in erythrocyte sedimentation rates, from 3 to 60mm/h.

  • This data set contains the results from a study of the behaviour of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddelli) at the Vestfold Hills, Prydz Bay, Antarctica. Three satellite transmitters were deployed on tagged female Weddell seals at the Vestfold Hills mid-winter (June) 1999. The transmitters were recovered in December, late in the pupping season. In total, the three transmitters were deployed and active 170 days, 175 days and 180 days. I used the first two classes of data to get fixes with a standard deviation less than 1 km. Most seal holes were more that 1 km apart (see Entry: wed_survey) so at this resolution we can distinguish between haul-out sites. We examine the number and range of locations used by the individual seals. We use all data collectively to look at diurnal and seasonal changes in haul-out bouts. None of the seals were located at sites outside the area of fast ice at the Vestfold Hills, although one seal was sighted on new fast-ice (20 - 40 cm thick). Considering the long bouts in the water, and that we only tracked haul-out locations, the results do not eliminate the possibility that the seals made long trips at sea. The original data are stored by the Australian Antarctic Division in the ARGOS system on the mainframe Alpha. The transmitter numbers are 23453, 7074 and 7075.

  • Southern elephant seals are among the deepest diving of all marine mammals. This study examined physiological and behavioural mechanisms used by the seals to conserve energy while diving and estimated metabolic rate. Data were collected on Time Depth Recorders (TDRs), and stored in hexadecimal format. Hexadecimal files can be read using 'Instrument Helper', a free download from Wildlife Computers (see the provided URL).

  • Elephant seals use a suite of physiological and behavioural mechanisms to maximise the time they can be submerged. Of these hypo-metabolism is one of the most important, so this study quantified maximum O2 consumptions relative to dove depth and swim speed. From the abstract of the referenced paper: Heart rate, swimming speed, and diving behaviour were recorded simultaneously for an adult female southern elephant seal during her postbreeding period at sea with a Wildlife Computers heart-rate time depth recorder and a velocity time depth recorder. The errors associated with data storage versus real-time data collection of these data were analysed and indicated that for events of short duration (i.e., less than 10 min or 20 sampling intervals) serious biases occur. A simple model for estimating oxygen consumption based on the estimated oxygen stores of the seal and the assumption that most, if not all, dives were aerobic produced a mean diving metabolic rate of 3.64 mL O2 kg-1, which is only 47% of the field metabolic rate estimated from allometric models. Mechanisms for reducing oxygen consumption while diving include cardiac adjustments, indicated by reductions in heart rate on all dives, and the maintenance of swimming speed at near the minimum cost of transport for most of the submerged time. Heart rate during diving was below the resting heart rate while ashore in all dives, and there was a negative relationship between the duration of a dive and the mean heart rate during that dive for dives longer than 13 min. Mean heart rates declined from 40 beats min-1 for dives of 13 min to 14 beats min-1 for dives of 37 min. Mean swimming speed per dive was 2.1 m s-1, but this also varied with dive duration. There were slight but significant increases in mean swimming speeds with increasing dive depth and duration. Both ascent and descent speeds were also higher on longer dives. Data were collected on Time Depth Recorders (TDRs), and stored in hexadecimal format. Hexadecimal files can be read using 'Instrument Helper', a free download from Wildlife Computers (see the provided URL). Data for this project is the same data that was collected for ASAC projects 769 and 589 (ASAC_769 and ASAC_589).

  • The broadscale distribution of flora (lichens, mosses, non-marine algae)and fauna (penguins, flying birds, seals)in the Stillwell Hills was mapped using GPS technology. Samples of flora were collected for taxonomic identification. Data were recorded and catalogued in shapefiles.

  • Public summary for project 2128: The aim of this study is to relate the foraging behaviour of Antarctic fur seals breeding on the Kerguelen Plateau at Iles Kerguelen and Heard Island, to the distribution of prey species at sea. Specifically this project seeks to examine the relationship between predators and prey, and how their locations at sea vary according to the position of major productive zones, such as the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone. This project will provide important data on the relationship between predators and their prey and the developing commercial fisheries in the region. These data are central to improved conservation and management of marine resources on the Kerguelen Plateau. Variations made to the work plan The original comparative aspects of the program planned for the 1999/00 season, where fur seals from Iles Kerguelen and Heard Island were to be satellite tracked simultaneously could not be undertaken because of original 1999/00 field season to Heard Island was re-scheduled to 2000/01. Fortunately the project collaborator Dr Christophe Guinet (French CEBC-CNRS) agreed to extend the work program at Iles Kerguelen another season, and the comparative and integrated fur seal-prey-fisheries study over the Kerguelen Plateau was undertaken the following season (2000/01). Details of this study are presented in ASAC project 1251 (CI - Goldsworthy)and 1085 (CI-Robertson). Significant findings: The distribution of the foraging activity of Antarctic fur seal females was investigated at Cap Noir (49 degrees 07 S, 70 degrees 45E), Kerguelen Island in February 1998. Eleven females were fitted with a satellite transmitter and Time Depth recorder. The two sets of data were combined to locate spatially the diving activity of the seals. The fish component of the fur seal diet was determined by the occurrence of otolotihs found in 55 scats collected during the study period at the breeding colony. Oceanographic parameters were obtained simultaneously through direct sampling and satellite imagery. The mesopelagic fish community was sampled on 20 stations along four transects where epipelagic trawls were conducted at night at 50 meters of depth. We then investigated, using geographic information systems, the relationship between the spatial distribution of the diving activity of the fur seals and oceanographic factors that included sea surface temperature, surface chlorophyll concentration, prey distribution and bathymetry obtained at the same spatio-temporal scale as the spatial distribution of the diving activity of our study animals. An inverse relationship was found between the main fish species preyed by fur seal and those sampled in trawl nets. However, the diving activity of Antarctic fur seal females was found to be significantly related to oceanographic conditions, fish-prey distribution and to the distance from the colony but these relationships changed with the spatial scale investigated. A probabilistic model of the Kerguelen Plateau was developed that predicted where females should concentrate their foraging activity according to the oceanographic conditions of the year, and the locations of their breeding colonies. Maternal allocation in growth of the pup was measured in Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) at Iles Kerguelen during the 1997 austral summer. Absolute mass gain of pups following a maternal foraging trip was independent of the sex of the pup but was positively related to the foraging trip duration and to maternal length. However, daily mass gain, i.e. the absolute mass gain of the pup divided by the foraging trip duration, decreased with increasing foraging trip duration but increased with maternal length. While fasting, the daily mass loss of the pup was related to the sex of the pup and initial body mass, with both heavier pups and female pups losing more mass per day than lighter pups and male pups. The mass specific rate of mass loss was significantly higher in female pups than in male pups. Over the study period, the mean growth rate was zero with no difference between female and male pups. The growth rate in mass of the pup was positively related to maternal length but not maternal condition, negatively related to the foraging trip duration of the mother and the initial mass of the pup. This indicated that during the study period heavier pups grew more slowly due to their higher rate of daily mass loss during periods of fasting . Interestingly, for a given maternal length, the mean mass of the pup during the study period was higher for male than for female pups, despite the same rate of daily mass gain. Such differences are likely to result from sex differences in the mass specific rate of mass loss. As female pups lose a greater proportion of their mass per day, a zero growth rate i.e. mass gain only compensates for mass loss, is reached at a lower mass in female pups compared to male pups. Our results indicate that there are no differences in maternal allocation according to the sex of the pup but suggest that both sexes follow a different growth strategy. Results are in line with the objectives of the project. animal_id (identifier of the individual animal) location_class (the Argos location class quality, 0-3) latitude (decimal degrees) longitude (decimal degrees) observation_date (the date of observation, in ISO8601 format yyyy-mm-ddTHH:MM:SSZ. This information is also separated into the year, month, day, etc components) observation_date_year (the year of the observation date) observation_date_month (the month of the observation date) observation_date_day (the day of the observation date) observation_date_hour (the hour of the observation date) observation_date_minute (the minute of the observation date) observation_date_time_zone (the time zone of the observation date) deployment_longitude (location that the tracker was deployed, decimal longitude) deployment_latitude (location that the tracker was deployed, decimal latitude) trip (the identifier of the trip made by this animal) at_sea (whether this point was at sea (1) or on land (0)) complete (was this trip complete - i.e. did the animal return to the colony) scientific_name (scientific name of the tracked animal)

  • Metadata record for data from ASAC Project 1251 See the link below for public details on this project. ---- Public Summary from Project ---- The aim of this study is to develop spatial GIS models of fur seal foraging density over the Kerguelen Plateau that will enable a rapid assessment method for identifying areas of high conservation value for Marine Protected Area planning and management. These models will be based on data on fur seal foraging densities in the HIMI region, and oceanographic data on bathymetry, sea-surface temperature and ocean colour (primary productivity). From the abstract of the referenced paper: We investigated the spatial and temporal distribution of foraging effort by lactating Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella at Heard Island using satellite telemetry and time-depth recorders. Two principal diving types were identified: 'deep' dives averaging 48.6 m, and 'shallow' dives averaging 8.6 m. Discriminant function analyses were used to assign dives based on their depth and duration. Generalised linear mixed-effects models of night dives (greater than 80% of all dives) indicated both spatial and temporal effects on the distribution of deep and shallow dives. Deep dives were more common in the deeper shelf waters of the Kerguelen Plateau, and these dives predominantly occurred after sunset and before sunrise. In contrast, shallow dives were more common in slope waters on the southeastern margin of the Kerguelen Plateau in the hours either side of local midnight. We suggest that these 2 distinct diving types reflect the targeting of channichthyid (deep dives) and myctophid (shallow dives ) fish, and are indicative of spatial and temporal differences in the availability of these 2 important prey groups. We also identified 3 distinct behavioural dive groups (based on multidimensional scaling of 19 diving and foraging trip parameters) that also differed in their spatial distribution and in their relative importance of deep and shallow dives. The present study provides some of the first evidence that diving strategies are not only influenced by where foraging takes place, but also when. The fields in the campaign_41_tracks.csv file are: campaign_id (the campaign identifier: aadc_campaign_41) animal_id (the identifier of the individual animal) scientific_name (scientific name: Arctocephalus gazella) ptt_id (the identifier of the PTT device on the animal. Note that individual PTT devices were deployed multiple times on different animals) deployment_location (the location of deployment: Spit Bay, Heard Island)) deployment_longitude (longitude of deployment location) deployment_latitude (latitude of deployment location) observation_date (the date of observation, in ISO8601 format yyyy-mm-ddTHH:MM:SSZ. This information is also separated into the year, month, day, etc components) observation_date_year (the year of the observation date) observation_date_month (the month of the observation date) observation_date_day (the day of the observation date) observation_date_hour (the hour of the observation date) observation_date_minute (the minute of the observation date) observation_date_second (the second of the observation date) observation_date_time_zone (the time zone of the observation date) latitude (the latitude of the observed position, in decimal degrees) longitude (the longitude of the observed position, in decimal degrees) location_class (the Argos location class of the observed position: one of (in increasing order of accuracy) B,A,0,1,2,3) trip (the trip number of the animal) at_sea (whether the observed position occurred at sea) complete (whether the complete trip was recorded) The fields in the campaign_41_supplementary.csv file are: animal_id (the identifier of the individual animal) behavioural_dive_group (1 = deep; 2 = shallow-active; 3 = shallow) departure_date (date of departure of the animal on the trip) departure_mass (mass of the animal on departure, in kg) standard_length (standard length of the animal, in cm) trip_duration (duration of the trip, in days) dive_rate (dives per hour) night_dive_rate (dives per hour) mean_dive_duration (in seconds) proportion_time_submerged proportion_night_time_submerged proportion_dives_in_bouts mean_number_dives_per_bout proportion_dives_at_night vertical_depth_travelled_per_hr_of_night (in m) proportion_vertical_depth_dived_at_night vertical_depth_travelled_per_day (in m) mean_dive_depth (in m) mean_depth_deep_dives (in m) mean_depth_shallow_dives (in m) proportion_night_shallow_dive_duration maximum_distance (in km) heading (in degrees)

  • This dataset contains the results from studies of the Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina) at Macquarie Island. Results from branding surveys and photographs between 1950 and 1965 are reported. Numbers, life stage, sex, moult stage and migration patterns have been reported.

  • The underwater and in-air recordings were used to derive a technique to classify the call types. The in-air recordings demonstrated that both males and females vocalise and often a single seal will string up to 6 call types together in a variety of orders. No 'Trills' were heard by males or females on the ice. The seals lengthened the duration of multiple-element calls when they were 'interrupted' by another calling seal. This suggests that the seals are listening for the calls of conspecifics while they themselves are calling. A pilot project indicated that almost none of the calls are completely masked by other calling seals. The recordings are being used (in association with recordings obtained in later years) to address other aspects of Weddell seal vocal communication. See the link below for public details on this project.

  • Metadata record for data from ASAC Project 2683. This project was followed by AAS project 4102, "Population abundance, trend, structure and distribution of the endangered Antarctic blue whale". The metadata record for project 4102 (and its child records) is available at the provided URL. This metadata record is in the process of being gradually modified (2014-08-08) to be set up as a parent record for the data from the above listed projects. Data from these projects will gradually become available via child records, rather than this record. Public Summary - 2683 This project will initiate focused acoustic research into the biology of Southern Ocean cetaceans. Deployment of sonobuoys along vessel transects will be used to survey large geographic regions for the presence and relative abundance of cetaceans. In addition, bottom mounted acoustic recording devices will permit continuous acoustic monitoring of targeted locations over long time frames. These techniques will help answer important questions regarding the presence, relative abundance, seasonality, movements, and distribution of Southern Ocean marine mammals that are necessary for effective management. Public Summary - 4102 Half a century ago the Antarctic blue whale was perilously close to extinction. Over 350,000 were killed before the remaining few were fully protected. A decade ago this elusive and poorly understood species was estimated to be less than 5% of its pre-whaling abundance. This multi-national, circumpolar project will develop and apply powerful new techniques to survey these rare whales and gain an insight into their recovery and ecology. The project is the flagship of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership - an International Whaling Commission endorsed collaborative program. Project objectives: This multi-year initiative within the AMLR program aims to implement a focused acoustic research program that will examine Southern Ocean marine mammal population dynamics through the use of technologically advanced acoustic monitoring techniques. In order to achieve the aims of this study an international collaboration has been developed leading to a multi-faceted research program. Long-term autonomous sea-floor recording devices will be utilised to conduct year-round acoustic surveys in targeted locations. Sonobuoys will additionally be used over shorter time frames to conduct strategic vessel-based acoustic surveys over large geographic ranges. These data will be used to assess distribution, movement, relative abundance, seasonality, and behaviour of cetaceans in Southern Ocean waters. These results can then be integrated with concurrently collected data on oceanographic and biological variables from vessel based surveys and remote satellite sensing leading to a larger understanding of the role of marine mammals in the Southern Ocean ecosystem. These objectives and early research design of this project are largely responsive to needs determined by the Australian Antarctic Division's recently inherited responsibilities to the International Whaling Commission. The prevailing motivation behind this project is to help develop a significant acoustic research capability in cetacean biology in order to provide sound scientific data that will assist in Australia's participation in the International Whaling Commission. Data from this project are stored offline on servers held at the Australian Antarctic Data Centre. Taken from the 2008-2009 Progress Report: Progress against objectives: Analysis of the Brokewest sonobuoy survey is complete and the manuscript has been accepted for publication in Deep Sea Research. This manuscript details the distribution of whales and seals in eastern Antarctic waters based on an acoustic sonobuoy survey. Data analysis is continuing of the recovered acoustic logger data. In addition, 1 acoustic logger was recovered during the 2008/9 season that will provide 2 years of acoustic recordings from the waters between Tasmania and the Antarctic. Unfortunately, 2 other loggers deployed last year were unable to be recovered and appear to be lost. Finally, 2 years of low frequency hydro-acoustic data from the northern Indian ocean (Diego Garcia) has been obtained from the CTBTO. This will permit comparisons with the Southern Ocean data to assess differences in seasonality and presence of calling whales Taken from the 2009-2010 Progress Report: Progress against objectives: In the last year, we have made significant progress on three fronts. First, we conducted a sonobuoy survey as part of the Antarctic Whale Expedition (AWE) which took place in February-March 2010. One hundred eleven sonobuoys were deployed across the study area (south of 60 degrees latitude, and between 150W and 150E longitude). Blue, fin, minke, humpback, sperm, killer, and unidentified beaked whales were all recorded. Two significant findings include linking the minke whale to a song-like vocalization that may be used to acoustically monitor these populations, and recording humpback whale song on the Southern Ocean feeding grounds for the first time. In addition, a long-term acoustic logger was deployed on the seafloor off Casey station for recovery in the 2010/2011 season, and a long term recorder deployed off the Kerguelen Plateau in collaboration with the French was recovered and is currently in transit back to Australia. And finally, we've begun redesigning the acoustic logger moorings for more efficient future deployments.