Identifying marine hotspots and oceanographic features by monitoring the top predators of Montague Island
This project is tracking key marine species including Australian Fur-seals, New Zealand Fur-seal , Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Short-tailed Shearwaters, Crested Terns, Silver Gulls and Australian Little Penguin to relate their movements and feeding to important oceanographic features of south-east Australia. Field trips for the penguin and seabird component of the project began last year and over 30 Little Penguin tracks were successfully recorded. The Conductivity/Temperature/Depth Sensors deployed on the fur seals are providing valuable data on their behaviour and movements along NSW coast. Early data suggests a difference between the feeding behaviour of the New Zealand Fur-seal and the Australian Fur-seals. Recent locations of fur seals indicate they are moving up and down the coast of NSW (from Jervis Bay to Bass Strait). By identifying how oceanographic features impact on wildlife species behaviour, we will be better able to identify important marine hotspots and feed back this information to improve the management and zoning of marine parks.
Taronga: Dr David Slip
Macquarie University: Prof Rob Harcourt
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage: Preston Cope
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