Selective foraging by harp seals Phoca groenlandica in nearshore and offshore waters of Newfoundland, 1993 and 1994

Lawson, John W. and Anderson, John T. and Dalley, Edgar L. and Stenson, Garry B. (1998) Selective foraging by harp seals Phoca groenlandica in nearshore and offshore waters of Newfoundland, 1993 and 1994. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 163. pp. 1-10. ISSN 1616-1599

[img] [English] PDF (Migrated (PDF/A Conversion) from original format: (application/pdf)) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (894Kb)

Abstract

The harp seal Phoca groenlandica, which is numerous and widespread in the Northwest Atlantic, may have a significant influences on the structure of this ecosystem. To qualify this influence, we must understand the functional relationship between harp seals and their prey. If seals are discriminating in their choice of prey, then their consumption of a particular species will not necessarily vary in relation to its availability or catchability. By applying Chesson's index of selectivity to stomach contents and research trawl data collected in several near- and offshore locations, we found that harp seals preferentially selected capelin Mallotus villosus relative to other prey species, irrespective of their local abundance, when given the choice. Arctic cod Boreogadus saida were also preferred in enarshore areas, but not in the offshore. In general, these predators were neutrally selective towards Atlantic cod Gadus morhua, American plaice Hippoglossoides platessoides and Greenland halibut Reinhardtius hippoglossoides. These patterns rationalize the dietary patterns reported for harp seals generally. They also explain the harp seals' switch from a reliance on capelin in nearshore waters (where their respective energy densities are similar.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/554
Item ID: 554
Keywords: Arctic cod; Capelin; Chesson's selectivity index; Harp seal
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Ocean Sciences
Date: 12 March 1998
Date Type: Publication

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics