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Seasonal activity budget of adult baltic ringed seals.

Journal article
Authors Tero Harkonen
Mart Jüssi
Ivar Jüssi
Michail Verevkin
Lilia Dmitrieva
Eero Helle
Roustam Sagitov
Karin C. Harding
Published in PLoS ONE
Volume 3
Issue 4
Pages e2006
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2008
Published at Linnaeus Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology (CEMEB)
Department of Marine Ecology
Pages e2006
Language en
Keywords Animals, Behavior, Phoca, anatomy & histology, physiology, Seasons, Sex Factors, Swimming, Telemetry
Subject categories Biological Sciences


Although ringed seals are important components in oceanic and fresh water ecosystems at high latitudes, little is known about how they exploit these harsh environments. Seasonal activity and diving behaviour of 19 adult Baltic ringed seals were studied by satellite telemetry. We elaborated an activity budget for ten months of the year, extending over the period from moult to the breeding season. Seals from three main regions showed explicit site fidelity and the distributions of animals tagged from different areas did not overlap, suggesting separate stocks. Both the mean duration and the mean depth of dives peaked in June and July. Seals spent 70% (females) to 85% (males) of their time diving in June and July which decreased to 50% in late autumn. Less than one percent of dives exceeded 10 min in females, while 10% of male dives lasted longer than 10 min in June to September. Less than one percent of dives lasted for more than 25 min. Both females and males were most active during day time and hauled out predominantly during the night. Activity patterns during the summer are suggested to be correlated to energy accumulation and prey availability. The information on seasonal activity budget is crucial for developing population energetic models where interactions between ringed seals and other trophic levels can be evaluated.

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