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Research article2000Peer reviewed

Grey seal, Halichoerus grypus, habitat selection around haulout sites in the Baltic Sea: bathymetry or central-place foraging?

Sjoberg M, Ball JP


We investigated habitat selection by grey seals, Halichoerus grypus, around haulouts in the Baltic Sea. Home ranges (95% fixed kernel) varied in size from 1088 to 6400 km(2). Observed habitat use was tested against the circular home range predicted from a simple central-place model. The overlap between the home ranges predicted by this simple model and actually exhibited by the seals was < 70% for 9 of 11 seals. Furthermore, the depth distributions of the utilised areas were significantly different from that available in the circular home range for all 11 seals. Seals selected depths of 11-40 m and avoided areas > 51 m deep. Ten of the 11 seals used areas within a 50-km radius around the haulout site for more than 75% of the time. Thus, in spite of their mobility and the availability of many islands, seals usually remained in the vicinity of a specific haulout site for extended periods. The seals did not use the habitat around the haulout site as predicted by the simple central-place model, but selected habitat according to bathymetric characteristics (e.g., water depth). Detection of these relatively small but heavily used home ranges around haulout sites may be of assistance in management plans in order to reduce the growing number of seal-fisheries conflicts

Published in

Canadian Journal of Zoology
2000, Volume: 78, number: 9, pages: 1661-1667

      SLU Authors

    • Sjöberg, mikael

      • Department of Animal Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Ball, John

        • Department of Animal Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

      Publication identifier


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