Still recovering from their decimation during the commercial sealing era, Australian fur seals have found a surprising ally in the oil rigs around Bass Strait.
New research, led by Deakin University scientists has found that man-made structures play an important part by providing an environment conducive to artificial reefs, perfect for attracting fish. “These findings mean that man-made structures such as pipelines, cable routes, wells and shipwrecks could play a vital role in helping to improve the recovery rates of our fur seals.” says Associate Professor John Arnould.
Australian fur seals, one of Australia’s largest sea creatures, feed on sea life from the sea floor including a variety of fish, octopus and squid species. “Therefore, structures like oil and gas rigs and pipelines that occur on the relatively featureless sea floor could provide a valuable prey habitat and promote foraging success for the species,” he said.
This clever finding could go a long way to help the recovery of populations of these beautiful and intelligent animals.
[vid source] Deakin University
Researchers from Deakin’s Centre for Integrative Ecology within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences teamed up with National Geographic, the University of Tasmania and University of California Santa Cruz to investigate the feeding behaviour of the Australian fur seals in Bass Strait.