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Head start: Australian sea lion pups gain experience of adult foraging grounds before weaning
Lowther, A.D.; Goldsworthy, S.D. (2012). Head start: Australian sea lion pups gain experience of adult foraging grounds before weaning. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(12): 2687-2696. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-012-2026-2
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Lowther, A.D.
  • Goldsworthy, S.D.

Abstract
    The extended lactation period of the Australian sea lion Neophoca cinerea is suggested to provide additional time for offspring to achieve nutritional independence. We examine the dive and movement development of pups at two age classes (6–10 months) from two colonies (Lilliput and Olive Islands) in South Australia using archival GPS and time-depth recorders to investigate the degree of overlap with maternal home range. Older pups from Lilliput travelled significantly further and spent more time at sea than younger pups. At Olive Island, there was a similar increase in distance travelled and time spent at sea with age. Pups at both colonies started occupying adult female home range at 6 months. Australian sea lion pups can explore adult foraging habitat at least 8 months prior to weaning, allowing them to learn the location of suitable habitat and the skills required to hunt successfully.

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