Population abundance of the endangered galapagos sea lion Zalophus wollebaeki in the southeastern Galapagos archipelago

Marjorie Riofrío-Lazo, Francisco Arreguín-Sánchez, Diego Páez-Rosas

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

22 Citas (Scopus)


There is great concern regarding the population status of the endangered Galapagos sea lion (GSL) because it has drastically decreased over the last 30 years. We determined the population size and growth trend of the GSL in the Galapagos southeastern region (SER) at three population levels based on the available census data: 1) SER (2011-2015), including 13 rookeries on the four islands San Cristóbal (SC), Española, Floreana, and Santa Fe, comprising 58% of the archipelago's population; 2) SC (2011-2015), including five rookeries, comprising 52% of the SER population; and 3) El Malecón (2005-2015), the largest rookery on SC and in the SER (43% of the population on SC and 22% in the SER). We also analyzed the influence of environmental variability on pup abundance in these rookeries. The current GSL population size in the SER, after applying correction factors to the counts, is estimated at approximately 2300-4100 individuals and has declined at an average annual rate (Λ) of 8.7% over the last five years. A similar trend was determined for SC but at Λ = 1.4% during the same period. For El Malecón, a count-based population viability analysis using a diffusion approximation approach showed that the population increased from 2005 to 2015 at Λ = 2%. The interannual variability in pup abundance was associated with anomalies in sea surface temperature linked to oceanographic-atmospheric events, which impact the abundance and availability of prey, and ultimately may determine the population's reproductive success. Since rookeries in the SER had different population trends, management actions should be implemented based on their specific conditions, giving priority to rookeries such as El Malecón, which, despite showing a slightly increasing population trend, still faces a high risk of extinction due to anthropogenic disturbances and environmental variability that may affect its growth and survival.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículoe0168829
PublicaciónPLoS ONE
EstadoPublicada - ene. 2017


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