Early Migratory Behavior of Northern Fur Seal (Callorhinus ursinus) Pups from Bering Island, Russia
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I examined the population trends of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) using an age-specific metapopulation model that allowed migration between rookeries. Mortality and birth rates were modified to simulate future population trends. I also examined the early migratory behavior and habitat associations of pups from Bering Island (BI), Russia. I instrumented 35 pups with Mk10-AL satellite tags and stomach temperature telemeters which provided diving, foraging and location data. I hypothesized that some aspects of pup behavior from the stable BI population differed from the behavior of pups from the unstable Pribilof Islands (PI). The population model revealed that emigration did not contribute significantly to the current PI population decline. However, large source populations contributed significantly to population growth in newly colonized rookeries. A stabilization of the PI population was predicted with a 10 to 20 percent reduction in both juvenile and adult female mortality rates. The diving behavior of pups showed a general progression towards longer and deeper dives as pups aged, particularly between 1600 – 0400 (local time), that was similar to PI pup behavior. However, unlike pups from the PI, I found three main diving strategies among BI pups: 1) shallow daytime divers (mean depth = 3.56 m), 2) deep daytime divers (mean depth = 6.36 m) and 3) mixed divers (mean depth = 4.81 m). The foraging behavior of pups showed that most successful ingestion events occurred between 1600 – 0400, with successful ingestion events lasting 25.36 plus/minus 27.37 min. There was no significant difference among the three strategies in the depth of successful foraging dives. I also examined the foraging search strategies in adult females and pups. Both pups and adults conducted Levy walks, although pups foraged in smaller patches (1 km scales). Using a logistic model to determine habitat associations, I found that pup locations were positively correlated with increasing chlorophyll a concentrations, distances from shore, and sea surface temperatures, and were negatively correlated with depth. There was no significant relationship between all pup locations and the regions (peripheries or centers) or types (cyclonic or anti-cyclonic) of eddies, but ingestion event locations were related to mesoscale eddy peripheries.
Subjectnorthern fur seal pup
Lee, Olivia Astillero (2011). Early Migratory Behavior of Northern Fur Seal (Callorhinus ursinus) Pups from Bering Island, Russia. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from