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Keywords:

  • Kerguelen;
  • pelagic ecosystems;
  • sea temperature;
  • satellite-tracking;
  • time-depth-recorder;
  • regional circulation

ABSTRACT

A recent concept for investigating marine ecosystems is to employ diving predators as cost-effective, autonomous samplers of environmental parameters (such as sea-temperature). Using king penguins during their foraging trips at sea, we obtained an unprecedented high resolution temperature map at depth off the Kerguelen Islands, Southern Ocean, a poorly sampled but productive area. We found clear evidence of a previously unknown subsurface tongue of cold water, flowing along the eastern shelf break. These new results provide a better understanding of regional water circulation and help explain the high primary productivity above the Kerguelen Plateau.