Foraging Ecology of Crabeater Seals (Lobodon Carcinophagus)
This collaborative study between the University of California, Santa Cruz, Duke University, the University of South Florida, the University of Alaska-Anchorage, and the University of California, San Diego will examine the identification of biological and physical features associated with the abundance and distribution of individual Antarctic predators; the identification and characterization of biological 'hot spots' within the Western Antarctic Peninsula; and the development of temporally and spatially explicit models of krill consumption within the WAP by vertebrate predators. It is one of several data synthesis and modeling components that use the data obtained in the course of the field work of the Southern Ocean Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics (SO GLOBEC) experiment.
SO-Globec is a multidisciplinary effort focused on understanding the physical and biological factors that influence growth, reproduction, recruitment and survival of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). The program uses a multi-trophic level approach that includes the predators and competitors of Antarctic krill, represented by other zooplankton, fish, penguins, seals, and cetaceans. It is currently in a synthesis and modeling phase. This collaborative project is concerned with understanding how predators utilize 'hot spots', i.e. locally intense areas of biological productivity, and how 'hot spots' might temporally and spatially structure krill predation rates, and will be integrated with other synthesis and modeling studies that deal with the hydrography primary production, and krill dynamics.
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