Life cycle of austral elephant seals: energy and personality

Links between personality and energetic and behavioural adjusments of Southern elephant seals in response to environmental condition variations during their life cycle
Climate and environmental changes influence the dynamics and structure of marine ecosystems, which affect the distribution and the abundance of marine species. Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) may be particularly affected by such spatiotemporal variability, since they alternate between foraging periods at sea and fasting time on land. Different foraging strategies at sea may impact the efficiency with which animals forage, which is the key to their reproduction and moult on land. This work aims to 1) link natural conditions and energetic constraints of a marine predator during its life cycle, alternating foraging and fasting periods; 2) explore whether individual strategies related to personality traits would impact on foraging success, moult speed, and ultimately on energetic and fitness components and 3) extend the environmental and seal behaviour data set through the SO-MEMO program. By exploring both proximate parameters (i.e. physiological, behavioural, energetic strategies) and ultimate (i.e. foraging success, reproductive success, moult speed) of individuals, this work will substantially increase our understanding of how environmental stressors such as ocean warming may influence energy expenditure, energy intake and therefore energy balance of this deep diving predator and how this could be mediated by personality traits.