Sub‐mesoscale fronts modify elephant seals foraging behavior

Type Article
Date 2019-12
Language English
Author(s) Rivière Pascal1, Jaud Thomas1, Siegelman Lia1, 2, 3, Klein Patrice2, 3, 4, Cotté Cedric5, Le Sommer Julien6, Dencausse Guillaume4, Guinet Christophe7
Affiliation(s) 1 : Laboratoire des sciences de l'Environnement MARin (LEMAR, UMR 6539) Univ. Brest‐CNRS‐IRD‐Ifremer IUEM Plouzané ,France
2 : Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA) California Institute of Technology Pasadena California, USA
3 : Department of Environmental Science and Engineering California Institute of Technology Pasadena California, USA
4 : Laboratoire d'Océanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS, UMR 6523)CNRS‐Ifremer‐Univ. Brest‐IRD IUEM Brest ,France
5 : LOCEANSorbonne Universités (UPMC, Univ Paris 06) CNRS‐IRD‐MNHN Paris, France
6 : Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, IGE Grenoble, France
7 : Centre d'études biologiques de Chizé, CEBC, CNRS Chizé ,France
Source Limnology And Oceanography Letters (2378-2242) (Wiley), 2019-12 , Vol. 4 , N. 6 , P. 193-204
DOI 10.1002/lol2.10121
WOS© Times Cited 11

Sub‐mesoscale fronts—with scales from 1 to 50 km are ubiquitous in satellite images of the world oceans. They are known to generate strong vertical velocities with significant impacts on biogeochemical fluxes and pelagic ecosystems. Here, we use a unique data set, combining high‐resolution behavioral and physical measurements, to determine the effects of sub‐mesoscale structures on the foraging behavior of 12 instrumented female southern elephant seals. These marine mammals make long voyages (several months over more than 2000 km), diving and feeding continuously in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Our results show that elephant seals change their foraging behavior when crossing sub‐mesoscale fronts: They forage more and at shallower depths inside sub‐mesoscale fronts compared to nonfrontal areas, and they also reduce their horizontal velocity likely to concentrate on their vertical diving activity. The results highlight the importance of sub‐mesoscale fronts in enhancing prey accessibility for upper trophic levels, and suggest that trophic interactions are stimulated in these structures.

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Rivière Pascal, Jaud Thomas, Siegelman Lia, Klein Patrice, Cotté Cedric, Le Sommer Julien, Dencausse Guillaume, Guinet Christophe (2019). Sub‐mesoscale fronts modify elephant seals foraging behavior. Limnology And Oceanography Letters, 4(6), 193-204. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :