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If habitat destruction or overexploitation of populations is severe, species loss can occur directly and abruptly. Yet the final descent to extinction is often driven by synergistic processes (amplifying feedbacks) that can be disconnected from the original cause of decline. We review recent observational, experimental and meta-analytic work which together(More)
Many free-ranging predators have to make foraging decisions with little, if any, knowledge of present resource distribution and availability. The optimal search strategy they should use to maximize encounter rates with prey in heterogeneous natural environments remains a largely unresolved issue in ecology. Lévy walks are specialized random walks giving(More)
Human-driven land-use changes increasingly threaten biodiversity, particularly in tropical forests where both species diversity and human pressures on natural environments are high. The rapid conversion of tropical forests for agriculture, timber production and other uses has generated vast, human-dominated landscapes with potentially dire consequences for(More)
Population limitation is a fundamental tenet of ecology, but the relative roles of exogenous and endogenous mechanisms remain unquantified for most species. Here we used multi-model inference (MMI), a form of model averaging, based on information theory (Akaike's Information Criterion) to evaluate the relative strength of evidence for density-dependent and(More)
A major source of energy during lactation in mammals is provided through the mobilization of blubber fatty acids (FAs). We investigated the extent to which FAs were mobilized to support both maternal metabolic requirements and milk production in the Weddell seal and how this was reflected in the FA composition of the pup's blubber at the end of lactation(More)
Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) were caught as part of a long-term demographic study on Macquarie Island. Over 18 months, 1033 seals were caught by hand and anaesthetised intravenously with a 1:1 mixture of tiletamine and zolazepam. Assessments were made of the effects of variations in the body condition and age at capture of the seals on the(More)
Understanding the trophodynamics of marine ecosystems requires data on the temporal and spatial variation in predator diet but, particularly for wide-ranging species, these data are often unavailable. The southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) consumes large quantities of fish and squid prey in the Southern Ocean relative to other marine mammals;(More)
Elephant seals regularly perform dives during which they spend a large proportion of time drifting passively through the water column. The rate of vertical change in depth during these "drift" dives is largely a result of the proportion of lipid tissue in the body, with fatter seals having higher (more positive or less negative) drift rates compared with(More)
DNA barcoding potentially offers scientists who are not expert taxonomists a powerful tool to support the accuracy of field studies involving taxa that are diverse and difficult to identify. The taxonomy of rays has received reasonable attention in Australia, although the fauna in remote locations such as Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia is poorly studied(More)
BACKGROUND Effective approaches for the management and conservation of wildlife populations require a sound knowledge of population demographics, and this is often only possible through mark-recapture studies. We applied an automated spot-recognition program (I3S) for matching natural markings of wildlife that is based on a novel information-theoretic(More)