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Project Information

Title: SEA: Trophic Interactions of Harbor Seals in PWS

Project Year and Number: 1994: 94320-F

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None

Principal Investigator (PI): Kathy Frost, State Of Alaska

Assisting Personnel: None

Research Location: Prince William Sound

Restoration Category: Research

Injured Resources Addressed: Harbor Seals

Abstract: This project is a component of the Sound Ecosystem Assessment (SEA) program, a multi-disciplinary effort to acquire an ecosystem level understanding of the marine and freshwater processes that interact to constrain levels of fish, marine bird, and marine mammal production in Prince William Sound (PWS). Harbor seal populations have been declining in PWS and the Gulf of Alaska since 1984. Harbor seals are predators of forage fishes, octopus, and shrimps. The cause of the ongoing decline of harbor seal populations in PWS is unknown. Other restoration studies are addressing anthropogenic causes, and studying the possibility of reduced seal productivity and disease. The possible effects of prey availability have not been addressed to date, but are possible causes for recent declines of harbor seals, Steller sea lions, and sea birds in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. This project is designed to investigate the trophic ecology of harbor seals and to assess the role of prey availability in the ongoing decline. Information from ongoing harbor seal studies will be integrated to assess feeding areas. Lipid analysis on harbor seal blubber, serum, and milk in conjunction with lipid analysis of prey (forage fish and zooplankton) will be conducted to determine relative contribution of prey to the seal diet/energy budget.


Keywords

Geographic Regions Prince William Sound
Species Marine Mammals - Pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, walrus)
Fields of Expertise Ecology
Technological Methods Tissue sampling/biopsy

Proposal: PDF Not Available

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 1994

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 1994

Annual Report: 1994: View (3,554 KB)

Final Report: Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us

Publications from this Project: None Available