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Understanding the diet composition of marine mammals: grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) in the Baltic Sea
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
2010 (English)In: ICES Journal of Marine Science, ISSN 1054-3139, E-ISSN 1095-9289, Vol. 67, no 6, 1230-1239 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dietary studies are important in understanding the ecological role of marine mammals and in formulating appropriate management plans in terms of their interactions with fisheries. The validity of such studies has, however, often been compromised by unrepresentative sampling procedures, resulting in false weight being given to external factors seeming to influence diet composition. The bias caused by non-random sampling was examined, using canonical correspondence analysis to assess how the prey species composition in digestive tract samples of Baltic grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) was related to spatial, temporal, and demographic factors and to whether the samples were collected in association with fishing gear or not (“sampling condition”). Geographic region explained the largest fraction of the observed variation, followed by sampling condition, age group, and year. Season and gender were not statistically significant. Segregation of the two age categories “pups” and “juveniles–adults”, and the two geographic categories “Baltic proper” and “Gulf of Bothnia” are proposed to estimate the diet and fish consumption of the Baltic grey seal population as a whole. Atlantic herring was the most commonly recovered prey item in all areas and age groups, followed by European sprat in the south, and common whitefish in the north. Pups had eaten relatively more small non-commercial species than older seals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 67, no 6, 1230-1239 p.
Keyword [en]
Baltic Sea, canonical correspondence analysis, diet, grey seal, Halichoerus grypus, marine mammals
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-50194DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsq022ISI: 000280919600014OAI: diva2:380658
authorCount :4Available from: 2010-12-21 Created: 2010-12-21 Last updated: 2010-12-21Bibliographically approved

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Hjerne, Olle
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