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Attendance patterns of California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) females and pups during the non-breeding season at San Miguel Island

Marine Mammal Science

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Abstract

The attendance patterns of California sea lions were studied during the non-breeding seasons from 1991 to 1994. Lactating females frequented the rookery to nurse their pups until weaning; most non-lactating females left the rookery for the season. Females spent over 70% of their time at sea except in 1993 when they spent 59% of their time at sea. The mean foraging trip length in the winter and spring ranged from 3.3 to 4.6 d; the mean nursing visit ranged from 1.2 to 1.4 d. The duration of foraging trips and nursing visits was variable over the season for individuals but no pattern of change was detected. Interannual and seasonal differences were not significant for time at sea, visits ashore, or foraging-trip duration before, during, or after the 1992-1993 El Nino event. Pups spent an average of 66.6% of their time ashore and up to three days away from the rookery during their mother's absence. Most females and pups stayed associated until April or May. The results suggest that seasonal movement of prey is more important in determining attendance patterns late in the lactation period than increasing energy demands of the pup.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Attendance patterns of California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) females and pups during the non-breeding season at San Miguel Island
Series title:
Marine Mammal Science
Volume
16
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Marine Mammal Science
First page:
169
Last page:
185
Number of Pages:
17