SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

One explanation for recent declines in some Alaskan pinniped populations is that ecosystem changes may have reduced the availability of preferred prey. Part of our evaluation of this hypothesis involves the use of satellite-linked telemetry to study Steller sea lion (Eumelopias jubaius) and northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) foraging. Data on dives (depth and duration) and water temperatures are collected by satellite-linked time-depth recorders (SLTDR) glued to the backs of sea lions and fur seals. These data are then summarized and stored for later transmission. Data are relayed back to land through NOAA Tiros-series satellites and are processed by Service-Argos (a U.S.-French consortium). These transmissions are also used to calculate at-sea and on-land locations of the animals through use of Doppler shifts of the frequency of received transmissions. Ultimately, diving and temperature can be reconciled with at-sea locations to compare foraging areas with locations of known prey stocks.