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Growth rates of Antarctic fur seals as indices of environmental conditions

Reid, Keith. 2002 Growth rates of Antarctic fur seals as indices of environmental conditions. Marine Mammal Science, 18 (2). 469-482. 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2002.tb01049.x

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Abstract/Summary

The growth rates of Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella) pups estimated from weighing cross-sections of the population were compared with measured/ inferred changes in the availability of their main prey species, Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) from 1989 to 2000. There was no relationship between growth rate and mass at weaning and there were counter-intuitive indications of higher growth rates in years of low krill availability. Biases reflecting changes in the component of the population available for sampling appear to invalidate the widely held assumption that interannual differences in growth rate can reliably be derived from differences in the slope of a linear relationship based on cross-sectional population samples. A new index was developed, based on the deviation of pup mass at age in each year compared to the multiyear mean, that was not dependent on assumptions of linearity. The indices of growth deviates produced a more logical relationship with other indices of pup development and related more appropriately to variations in prey availability. The potential impact of methodological biases on the interpretation of growth rate suggests that comparisons of growth rates should not rely on assumptions regarding the underlying growth pattern.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2002.tb01049.x
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Antarctic Science in the Global Context (2000-2005) > Dynamics and Management of Ocean Ecosystems
ISSN: 1748-7692
Additional Keywords: Antarctic fur seal, Arctocephalus gazella, growth rate, cross-sectional weighing, Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba
Date made live: 21 Mar 2012 12:06
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/17393

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