Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Seasonal, meteorological, tidal and diurnal effects on haul-out patterns of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in Iceland
The Icelandic Seal Center, Iceland; Institute of Freshwater Fisheries, Iceland.
Vör Marine Research Center at Breiðafjörður, Iceland.
2016 (English)In: Polar Biology, ISSN 0722-4060, E-ISSN 1432-2056Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

It is of critical importance to identify factors that affect harbour seal haul-out patterns to improve the accuracy of harbour seal censuses. In this study, haul-out patterns of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) were investigated during different conditions at several major haul-out sites on Vatnsnes peninsula, NW Iceland (65400N and 20480W), over the 2008–2011 period. A seasonal haul-out pattern was detected among the seals, with the maximum number of seals on land found in July for most of the sites. Analyses of data for harbour seals on Vatnsnes indicate that the main pupping period occurs during late May to the beginning of June and moulting during late July to early August. Abundance at the sites increased with rising air temperature and decreased with increased windspeed and rising tides. However, no evidence that precipitation or cloud cover affected haul-out behaviour of the seals was detected. The diel haul-out pattern was investigated thoroughly in one of the haul-out sites and the results underlined the effect of tidal flucturation, air temperature and wind direction on the haul-out behaviour of harbour seals in the area. Results from this study can be used to improve the survey design when estimating the population size of harbour seals in Iceland and applied more broadly to the study of haul-out behaviour of harbour seals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
Harbour seal, haul-out, diurnal pattern, GLM, Iceland
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134775DOI: 10.1007/s00300-016-1904-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-134775DiVA: diva2:1038481
Available from: 2016-10-18 Created: 2016-10-18 Last updated: 2016-11-22
In thesis
1. Ecology, tourism and management of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecology, tourism and management of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina)
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In cases where human and wildlife are co-using the same geographical areas and resources, management issues often get complex and stakeholder conflicts are common. The Icelandic harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) population is rapidly decreasing, but direct culling of seals still occurs. At the same time seals are becoming an important resource due to increased interest in wildlife watching. Despite the complicated management situation, the Icelandic harbour seal population is one of the least studied pinniped populations in the world. Mapping the typical haul-out pattern is an important foundation for further studies. In paper I haul-out behaviour of harbour seals was investigated and a seasonal haul-out pattern was detected with the maximum number of seals hauling out during summer. A bimodal distribution curve was found during the summer time, suggesting that pupping period occurs in late May to early June, while moulting occurs in late July to early August. Tidal state, air-temperature and wind-speed affected the haul-out boots. Today, the main reason for culling harbour seals in Iceland is to reduce harbour seal predation on salmonids, despite limited knowledge on the effect of seal predation on salmonid populations and salmon angling. The diet of harbour seals that haul out in the estuary area of Bjargós and Ósar in NW-Iceland was therefore investigated using hard-part (paper II) and DNA metabarcoding analysis (paper III). Both methods showed that the main prey species were sand eels, flatfishes, gadoids, herring and capelin, while salmonids were not an important prey in this area. Based on these results, culling of harbour seals in the area is not likely to have a positive effect on salmonid angling. These results have crucial management implications, especially in the light of the severe decline in the Icelandic harbour seal population. Potential effects of seal watching tourism on the harbour seal population must also be considered in management plans. In paper IV, we investigated the effects of land based seal watching on seal behaviour and found that spatial distribution and vigilance was affected by tourists. Calm tourists behaviour had less effect, meaning that disturbance could be reduced if tourist behaviour is modified. In paper V, this line of investigation was followed by analysing knowledge transfer from academia to the tourist industry and a model was presented where a synergy effect of working interdisciplinary is hypothesised. Finally, in paper VI, the effect of signage on tourist behaviour was studied. Empirical testing showed that teleological information is more effective than ontological in terms of modifying general tourist behaviour. In this thesis, I present new knowledge on behaviour and diet of harbour seals, as well as new empirical findings on tourist behaviour in wildlife tourism settings. Further I explore interdisciplinary management approaches for seal watching tourism. The findings presented in this thesis have an important value within academic research in environmental-, life- and social sciences and the knowledge can be applied in several areas of harbour seal management in Iceland and elsewhere.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2016. 21 p.
Keyword
Harbour seals, Phoca vitulina, ecology, tourism, wildlife, disturbance
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134939 (URN)978-91-7649-565-0 (ISBN)978-91-7649-566-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-16, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 6: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-11-23 Created: 2016-10-26 Last updated: 2016-11-28Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Granquist, Sandra Magdalena
In the same journal
Polar Biology
Biological Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

Altmetric score

Total: 4 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link