Breeding Biology of Male Southern Elephant Seals

Project Description
The Southern elephant seal is a polygynous, sexual dimorphic species
in which males are 4 -10 times greater ... than females. Males begin to
arrive at the start of the breeding season and fight each other in
areas where females will settle to give birth. When pregnant females
begin to arrive, they gather in groups called harems. The result of
the encounters between males is a dominance hierarchy at each breeding
area, which reduces access to the grouped females to the
highest-ranking males, thus allowing them to increase their breeding
success. Male size is an important variable to take into account in
this social structure; however, additional factors such as prior
residence at the breeding area, male age, and time spent on the beach
could also be variables that affect male social rank in the dominance
hierarchy and thus male breeding success.

By combining different techniques (paternity analyses, body
measurements, daily censuses) we propose to study the breeding biology
of southern elephant seals at Stranger Point, King George Island,
identifying potential different strategies displayed by males to
increase their breeding success.

This summary is taken from