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Elephant seal pups suffer from ocean warming

results show that the pups' mean weaning weight declined from 146 kg in 1976 to 115 kg in 1999. This coincided with an increase in mothers' foraging time of about 36% (as well as a decrease in mass gained). After 1999, however, the declining trend abruptly stopped and the weaning weight of the pups increased to eventually reach 130 kg. This change coincided with the cooling of the ocean at the beginning of the new century.

"Despite ranging widely and foraging deeply in cold waters beyond coastal thermoclines in the northeastern Pacific, elephant seals are impacted significantly by ocean thermal dynamics", conclude the authors.

Le Boeuf and Crocker add that monitoring the mean weaning weight of elephant seal pups can therefore help track changes in ocean temperature cycles.

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This press release is based on the article:

Ocean climate and seal condition
Burney J Le Boeuf, Daniel E Crocker
BMC Biology 2005, 3:9 (28 March 2005)

This article is available free of charge, according to BMC Biology's Open Access policy at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/3/9


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Source:Biomed Central


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