My co-authors and I are pleased to announce our recent publication in the
Journal of Thermal Biology:

Codde, S.A., Allen, S.G, Houser, D.S., Crocker, D.E. 2016. Effects of
environmental variables on surface temperature of breeding adult female
northern elephant seals, *Mirounga angustirostris*, and pups. Journal of
Thermal Biology 61, 98-105.

Full article access available until November 1:

Pinnipeds spend extended periods of time on shore during breeding, and some
temperate species retreat to the water if exposed to high ambient
temperatures. However, female northern elephant seals (Mirounga
angustirostris) with pups generally avoid the water, presumably to minimize
risks to pups or male harassment. Little is known about how ambient
temperature affects thermoregulation of well insulated females while on
shore. We used a thermographic camera to measure surface temperature (Ts)
of 100 adult female elephant seals and their pups during the breeding
season at Point Reyes National Seashore, yielding 782 thermograms.
Environmental variables were measured by an onsite weather station.
Environmental variables, especially solar radiation and ambient
temperature, were the main determinants of mean and maximum Ts of both
females and pups. An average of 16% of the visible surface of both females
and pups was used as thermal windows to facilitate heat loss and, for pups,
this area increased with solar radiation. Thermal window area of females
increased with mean Ts until approximately 26 °C and then declined. The Ts
of both age classes were warmer than ambient temperature and had a large
thermal gradient with the environment (female mean 11.2±0.2 °C; pup mean
14.2±0.2 °C). This large gradient suggests that circulatory adjustments to
bypass blubber layers were sufficient to allow seals to dissipate heat
under most environmental conditions. We observed the previously undescribed
behavior of females and pups in the water and determined that solar
radiation affected this behavior. This may have been possible due to the
calm waters at the study site, which reduced the risk of neonates drowning.
These results may predict important breeding habitat features for elephant
seals as solar radiation and ambient temperatures change in response to
changing climate.

Feel free to contact me for any inquiries or requests at:


Sarah Codde
Marine Ecologist
Inventory & Monitoring Program
Point Reyes National Seashore
Phone: (415) 464-5210
Fax: (415) 663-8132
* <>*
MARMAM mailing list

Reply via email to