Estimating prey consumption by northwest Atlantic Harp seals

Description

Harp seal on the ice.

Harp seals are abundant high-level predators in the northwest Atlantic, and like most marine mammals, they have a significant impact on important commercial species. Understanding the role marine mammals may have in the decline of important prey species involves estimating how much they consume. This is complex because the areas covered, the time periods involved, and the contents of their diet vary widely. This project will involve updating a model currently used to estimate the consumption of prey species by harp seals, making it easier to modify for use in different areas and time periods. This project will also employ the use of stable isotope data to develop a model for estimating the diet of harp seals instead of previous methods involving stomach contents and fatty acid signatures. These models will also be useful for estimating consumption by marine mammals in other areas.

Program Name

Strategic Program for Ecosystem-based Research and Advice (SPERA)

Ecoregion(s)

Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Garry Stenson

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