Habitat selection by hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean

Andersen, Julie M. and Wiersma, Yolanda and Stenson, Garry B. and Hammill, Mike O. and Rosing-Asvid, Aqqalu and Skern-Maurizen, Mette (2013) Habitat selection by hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 70 (1). pp. 173-185. ISSN 1054-3139

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We examined annual habitat use for 65 hooded seals (32 adult females, 17 adult males, and 16 juveniles) equipped with satellite relay data loggers (SRDLs) in spring or summer during five field seasons (2004–2008). A combined approach using first passage time (FPT) analysis and a generalized additive model (GAM) was applied to test for habitat selection, with a focus on environmental parameters of depth, slope, ice, sea surface temperature (SST), and chlorophyll. The models were run on adult males, adult females, and juveniles separately, and the results identified SST, depth, and chlorophyll as the most important factors influencing habitat selection across all categories. Furthermore, males and females preferred similar habitat conditions, but were separated geographically, and by depth, at various times of the year. Males appeared to be more localized in their habitat use patterns, focusing their search effort in areas of complex seabed relief such as Baffin Bay, Davis Strait, and the Flemish cap, while females concentrated their search effort along shelf areas (e.g. the Labrador shelf). These findings support our hypothesis that hooded seals prefer areas where topography and oceanographic processes create favourable foraging conditions.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/663
Item ID: 663
Keywords: Cystophora cristata, first passage time, habitat model habitat use, hooded seal, migration, sex and age differences
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: January 2013
Date Type: Publication
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