Sunday, 11 June 2017

Female Steller sea lions tend to breed near their birthplace

Familiarity with other females, geography may be crucial for reproduction

Date: June 7, 2017
Source: PLOS

Female Steller sea lions tend to breed at or near the rookery where they were born, according to a study published June 7, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Kelly Hastings from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, USA, and colleagues.

Understanding the patterns of dispersal for an animal species is critical for measuring changes in the population, which helps with conservation efforts. Previous studies have shown that Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) males tend to disperse more frequently than the females, however, little is known about the movements of breeding females.

The authors of the present study monitored 369 Steller sea lion females that had been marked as pups in the rookeries where they were born in southeastern Alaska, gathering observation and recapture data between 2001 and 2015 to assess how frequently breeding females switched rookery.

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