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Growth and bioenergetic models for stellar sea lions (eumetopias jubatus) in Alaska Winship, Arliss J.

Abstract

The primary goal of my study was to develop a bioenergetic model to predict the food requirements of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). An important component of the bioenergetic model was a physical growth model. Growth models were constructed using morphometric measurements of males (> 1 year old), females (> 1 year old), and pregnant females with a foetus that had been shot on rookeries, haulouts, and in the coastal waters of southeastern Alaska, the Gulf of Alaska and along the Bering Sea ice edge between 1976 and 1989. A Richards model best described age related growth in body length and mass. Males grew (in length) over a longer period than females and exhibited a growth spurt in mass which coincided with sexual maturity. Sexual dimorphism in both body length and mass was significant by 3 years of age. The average predicted standard lengths of males and females older than 12 years were 3.04 m and 2.32 m respectively, while the average predicted weights were 681 kg and 273 kg respectively. Residuals of the size at age models indicated seasonal changes in growth rates. Young animals (

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