Ross seal ( Ommatophoca rossii) annual distribution, diving behaviour, breeding and moulting, off Queen Maud Land, Antarctica

Blix, Arnoldus Schytte; Nordøy, Erling S.
November 2007
Polar Biology;Nov2007, Vol. 30 Issue 11, p1449
Academic Journal
Six out of ten adult Ross seals that were tagged with Argos satellite-linked dive recorders off Queen Maud Land, just after the moult in February, provided data on location and diving activity throughout a year. Shortly after tagging, the animals headed 2,000 km north and stayed pelagic in the area south of the Antarctic Polar Front, until October when they went south into the pack-ice. Throughout the year they made about 100 dives a day, most to a depth of 100–300 m, the deepest dive on record being 792 m, while some dives were very shallow during their stay in the pack-ice. Most dives, outside the breeding and moulting period, lasted for 5–15 min throughout the year. This diving behaviour is consistent with feeding on mid-water fish, like Pleurogramma antarcticum, squid, and to some extent krill ( Euphausia superba), when in the pack-ice, and myctophid fish and several species of squid, when in the open ocean. The nursing period was 13 days in mid-November, and moulting occurs in late January–early February, which is the period when sightings surveys for this species should be done.


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