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Seals map bathymetry of the Antarctic continental shelf

Padman, Laurie; Costa, Daniel P.; Bolmer, S.Thompson; Goebel, Michael E.; Huckstadt, Luis A.; Jenkins, Adrian; McDonald, Birgitte I.; Shoosmith, Deborah R.. 2010 Seals map bathymetry of the Antarctic continental shelf. Geophysical Research Letters, 37 (L21601). 5, pp. 10.1029/2010GL044921

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Abstract/Summary

We demonstrate the first use of marine mammal dive-depth data to improve maps of bathymetry in poorly sampled regions of the continental shelf. A group of 57 instrumented elephant seals made on the order of 2 x 10(5) dives over and near the continental shelf on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula during five seasons, 2005-2009. Maximum dive depth exceeded 2000 m. For dives made near existing ship tracks with measured water depths H<700 m, similar to 30% of dive depths were to the seabed, consistent with expected benthic foraging behavior. By identifying the deepest of multiple dives within small areas as a dive to the seabed, we have developed a map of seal-derived bathymetry. Our map fills in several regions for which trackline data are sparse, significantly improving delineation of troughs crossing the continental shelf of the southern Bellingshausen Sea.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2010GL044921
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Ice Sheets
ISSN: 0094-8276
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Earth Sciences
Date made live: 21 Dec 2010 11:37
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/12697

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