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Modelling southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina using an individual-based model coupled with a dynamic energy budget


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Goedegebuure, M, Melbourne-Thomas, J, Corney, SP ORCID: 0000-0002-8293-0863, McMahon, CR and Hindell, MA ORCID: 0000-0002-7823-7185 2018 , 'Modelling southern elephant seals Mirounga leonina using an individual-based model coupled with a dynamic energy budget' , PloS ONE, vol. 13, no. 3 , pp. 1-37 , doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194950.

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Higher trophic-level species are an integral component of any marine ecosystem. Despitetheir importance, methods for representing these species in end-to-end ecosystem modelsoften have limited representation of life histories, energetics and behaviour. We built an individual-based model coupled with a dynamic energy budget for female southern elephantseals Mirounga leonina to demonstrate a method for detailed representation of marinemammals. We aimed to develop a model which could i) simulate energy use and life histories,as well as breeding traits of southern elephant seals in an emergent manner, ii) projecta stable population over time, and iii) have realistic population dynamics and structurebased on emergent life history features (such as age at first breeding, lifespan, fecundityand (yearling) survival). We evaluated the model's ability to represent a stable populationover long time periods (>10 generations), including the sensitivity of the emergent propertiesto variations in key parameters. Analyses indicated that the model is sensitive to changes inresource availability and energy requirements for the transition from pup to juvenile, andjuvenile to adult stage. This was particularly the case for breeding success and yearling survival.This model is suitable for use as a standalone tool for investigating the impacts ofchanges to behaviour and population responses of southern elephant seals.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Goedegebuure, M and Melbourne-Thomas, J and Corney, SP and McMahon, CR and Hindell, MA
Keywords: marine mammals, higher trophic-level predators, ecosystem model, individual-based model, dynamic energy budget theory, southern elephant seal
Journal or Publication Title: PloS ONE
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI / ID Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194950
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Copyright 2018 Goedegebuure et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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