University of Alaska Anchorage
Danielle Graduated in May 2004 with a MS of Biological Sciences.
Seasonal trends in harbor seal abundance at the terminus of the Bering Glacier in Southcentral Alaska
A new harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardsii) glacial haulout was recently identified in Southcentral Alaska at the terminus of the Bering Glacier (60º 5’ N, 143º 30’ W). This study was designed to address the seasonal patterns of harbor seal use of the Bering Glacier haulout in order to better understand the importance of the site to local populations, and to identify those environmental factors that may draw seals to glacial haulout areas and influence their use of these sites. There was a large seasonal influx of seals into the area with a peak in abundance in late September. This peak was after the molt, but coincident with local salmon runs in two consecutive years. To determine if the influx was driven by particular age classes, a method was developed to measure seal length from aerial photographs. Results indicated that all age classes of seals entered the area in late summer, suggesting that seals were moving into the area in order to exploit seasonally abundant prey resources. Possible implications for harbor seal management in Alaska are discussed.
|Last update 10/27/09|