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150267 - Weddell seal behaviour during an exceptional oceanographic.pdf (1.13 MB)

Weddell seal behaviour during an exceptional oceanographic event in the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in 2017

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 08:04 authored by Labrousse, S, Ryan, S, Roquet, F, Picard, B, Clive McMahonClive McMahon, Harcourt, R, Mark HindellMark Hindell, Le Goff, H, Lourenco, A, David, Y, Sallee, JB, Charrassin, JB
Rapid and regionally contrasting climate changes have been observed around Antarctica. However, our understanding of the impact of these changes on ecosystems remains limited, and there is an urgent need to better identify habitats of Antarctic species. The Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) is a circumpolar mesopredator and an indicative species of Antarctic marine communities. It has been extensively studied in the western Ross Sea and East Antarctica, and an understanding of its ecology in the Weddell Sea in the wintertime is emerging. We documented the behavioural response(s) of four Weddell seals from February to June in 2017 in the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf region and related these to unusual oceanographic conditions in 2017. Unexpectedly, we found that Weddell seals had the longest foraging effort within the outflow of Ice Shelf Water or at its turbulent boundary. They also foraged on the eastern side of the trough from April to June within the Modified Warm Deep Water and seem to take advantage of the unusual conditions of persistent inflow of warm waters through the winter. Linking animal behavioural responses to oceanographic conditions is informative for quantifying rarely recorded events and provides great insight into how predators may respond to changing conditions.


Publication title

Antarctic Science








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Cambridge Univ Press

Place of publication

40 West 20Th St, New York, USA, Ny, 10011-4211

Rights statement

Copyright 2021 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Antarctic and Southern Ocean ice dynamics; Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences

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