The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

The Marine Mammal Programme at the Prince Edward Islands: 38 years of research

The Marine Mammal Programme at the Prince Edward Islands: 38 years of research
The Marine Mammal Programme at the Prince Edward Islands: 38 years of research

The Marine Mammal Programme (MMP) conducts research on pinnipeds and killer whales Orcinus orca at Marion Island, Prince Edward Islands, under the auspices of the Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria. The history of the MMP, which has benefited from collaboration with leading national and international researchers, is described from its start through to current research. The setting up of long-term studies such as the mark-resighting of southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina commenced in 1983. The elephant seal population declined by 87% between an initial census in 1951 and 2004. This was followed by a stabilisation period and a current increase. The recovery, and subsequent increase of sympatric populations of Subantarctic fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis and Antarctic fur seals A. gazella (following cessation of commercial sealing), are documented. Insights into many aspects of elephant seal and fur seal biology, including life history, demography, diet, growth, foraging and ranging behaviour are described. Ancillary work on morphology, genetics, anthropogenic influences and rare events are mentioned, as well as the extent of current research that addresses population dynamics in an ecosystem context. Opportunistic photographic identification of killer whales and recent dedicated observations at Marion Island are used to determine population size, seasonal abundance and sociality of this population, and to further understanding of its potential impact on resident pinniped populations.

Antarctic fur seal, foraging ecology, killer whale, population dynamics, southern elephant seal, Subantarctic fur seal
1814-232X
511-521
Bester, M. N.
cde32f42-fedb-42c6-9a0e-b797259c1cac
de Bruyn, P. J.N.
4239fc92-c272-4bad-a8ca-c5edf24fa933
Oosthuizen, W. C.
c47dad12-f162-48e4-991e-9629439fba1c
Tosh, C. A.
f90378e0-5386-4395-9576-f9f0d460ad23
McIntyre, T.
845e4d9a-010b-41b9-b25e-6fa0359ea15b
Reisinger, R. R.
4eaf9440-48e5-41fa-853f-d46457e5444e
Postma, M.
d32be3e9-84e8-465f-95b8-662036a63dfb
van der Merwe, D. S.
0df132fc-6687-4df6-af34-03e9bf9728ee
Wege, M.
d5c48d5b-9587-45e3-be59-273d1b59f938
Bester, M. N.
cde32f42-fedb-42c6-9a0e-b797259c1cac
de Bruyn, P. J.N.
4239fc92-c272-4bad-a8ca-c5edf24fa933
Oosthuizen, W. C.
c47dad12-f162-48e4-991e-9629439fba1c
Tosh, C. A.
f90378e0-5386-4395-9576-f9f0d460ad23
McIntyre, T.
845e4d9a-010b-41b9-b25e-6fa0359ea15b
Reisinger, R. R.
4eaf9440-48e5-41fa-853f-d46457e5444e
Postma, M.
d32be3e9-84e8-465f-95b8-662036a63dfb
van der Merwe, D. S.
0df132fc-6687-4df6-af34-03e9bf9728ee
Wege, M.
d5c48d5b-9587-45e3-be59-273d1b59f938

Bester, M. N., de Bruyn, P. J.N., Oosthuizen, W. C., Tosh, C. A., McIntyre, T., Reisinger, R. R., Postma, M., van der Merwe, D. S. and Wege, M. (2011) The Marine Mammal Programme at the Prince Edward Islands: 38 years of research. African Journal of Marine Science, 33 (3), 511-521. (doi:10.2989/1814232X.2011.637356).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The Marine Mammal Programme (MMP) conducts research on pinnipeds and killer whales Orcinus orca at Marion Island, Prince Edward Islands, under the auspices of the Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria. The history of the MMP, which has benefited from collaboration with leading national and international researchers, is described from its start through to current research. The setting up of long-term studies such as the mark-resighting of southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina commenced in 1983. The elephant seal population declined by 87% between an initial census in 1951 and 2004. This was followed by a stabilisation period and a current increase. The recovery, and subsequent increase of sympatric populations of Subantarctic fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis and Antarctic fur seals A. gazella (following cessation of commercial sealing), are documented. Insights into many aspects of elephant seal and fur seal biology, including life history, demography, diet, growth, foraging and ranging behaviour are described. Ancillary work on morphology, genetics, anthropogenic influences and rare events are mentioned, as well as the extent of current research that addresses population dynamics in an ecosystem context. Opportunistic photographic identification of killer whales and recent dedicated observations at Marion Island are used to determine population size, seasonal abundance and sociality of this population, and to further understanding of its potential impact on resident pinniped populations.

This record has no associated files available for download.

More information

Published date: November 2011
Additional Information: Funding Information: Acknowledgements — Research at the PEIA was first funded by the Department of Transport, which also provided the logistics, and later by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, under the auspices of various research committees. Currently, funding is provided by the South African Department of Science and Technology, administered by the National Research Foundation, while the Department of Environmental Affairs provides the logistics. We are indebted to numerous personnel for their dedicated work on Marion Island when we were not in the field (see http://marion. sanap.org.za/index2.html), and to Azwianewi Makhado for setting the standard for students from the University of Venda that came after him. Richard Laws, Donald Siniff, John Bengtson and Ian Boyd, then members of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research Group of Specialists on Seals, provided their individual support in the 1990s when the long-term elephant seal mark-resighting progamme at the PEIA was under threat of being discontinued. Clarke Scholtz and Sue Nicolson as heads of department, and Johan du Toit and Elissa Cameron as directors of the MRI, were supportive throughout their tenures. Harry Burton, Joachim Plötz, Brent Stewart, John Arnould and Martin Haupt provided materially and spiritually, and Horst Bornemann, Alejandro Carlini†, Mark Hindell and Mirtha Lewis made meaningful collaboration possible. Graham Kerley, Ian Wilkinson, Greg Hofmeyr, Steve Kirkman, Pierre Pistorius (Marion Island expeditioners, students and friends all rolled into one), and Clive McMahon (Marion cat hunter, Macquarie sealer, student and friend), contributed enormously to the productivity of the MMP, each spending at least two seasons in the field and producing dissertations/theses and papers while at home base. We dedicate this paper to the memory of Alejandro Carlini, valued friend and colleague at IAA, who tragically passed away in the prime of his life in December 2010. Funding Information: Between April 1981 and March 1996, coordination of the overall research effort was facilitated by the appointment of a dedicated Antarctic Research Officer (ARO) within the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP). This position was located at the MRI, and although the ARO position was terminated in 1996, the officer (MNB) subsequently procured a permanent, full-time academic position within the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria (UP) in April 1996. This ensured continuity in research. Seal research collaborations were forged especially with the then Branch: Marine and Coastal Management (now Oceans and Coasts of the Department of Environmental Affairs [DEA]), the University of Cape Town, the University of Venda, Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Germany), Australian Antarctic Division, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute (USA), Norwegian Polar Institute, Instituto Antartico Argentino (IAA), the Centro Nacional Patagonico (CENPAT) (Argentina), Deakin University (Australia) and the University of Tasmania (Australia). These collaborations continue to the present. The appointment of a UP graduate associated with the MMP (PJNdB) to a permanent, full-time academic position within the Department of Zoology and Entomology (January 2010), and alliances formed with other former MMP participants now employed at Oceans and Coasts, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld, and University of Venda, promise to be significant in the continuation and expansion of the MRI’s drive towards a strong and scientifically productive involvement in SANAP and other national Antarctic programmes through the study of marine mammals. However, this will be subject to continued procurement of funding from the Department of Science and Technology within SANAP. Copyright: Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: Antarctic fur seal, foraging ecology, killer whale, population dynamics, southern elephant seal, Subantarctic fur seal

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 469005
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/469005
ISSN: 1814-232X
PURE UUID: 91e2198b-ea40-40e3-b170-176bf42733d7
ORCID for R. R. Reisinger: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8933-6875

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Sep 2022 16:38
Last modified: 06 Sep 2022 02:03

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: M. N. Bester
Author: P. J.N. de Bruyn
Author: W. C. Oosthuizen
Author: C. A. Tosh
Author: T. McIntyre
Author: R. R. Reisinger ORCID iD
Author: M. Postma
Author: D. S. van der Merwe
Author: M. Wege

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×