Does sex determine where elephant seals travel?

Question from Student:

Male and female northern elephant seals look like they're going different places in the tracks. Are southern elephant seal males and females showing different tracks as well? If so, how do they differ?

Answered by DanielCosta

Northern and southern elephant seals are very similar in terms of how long and deep they dive. The major difference is that southern elephant seals are a little larger (weight and length). Further, southern elephant seals breed in higher latitudes than northern elephant seals and it appears that northern elephant seals swim further to their foraging grounds.

There are also differences in the pattern of their dives. Northern elephant seals have a pronounced difference in where males and females go. Northern elephant seal females tend to forage far out at sea, while males tend to forage on along the margins of the continental shelf. In contrast, male and female southern elephant seals both forage on and along the continental shelf.