Ringed seal foraging ecology

Ringed seal (Phoca hispida) abundance estimates for spring in western Hudson Bay show declining numbers between 1995 and 2000. It is not yet clear whether this pattern is common to other areas of Hudson Bay. However, the current trend in abundance for western Hudson Bay has prompted efforts to identify the areas that are most important for ringed seals in the region. Therefore, we began investigating several aspects of ringed seal foraging ecology, including movements, haul-out and diving behaviour, in order to understand where and what resources are important for them.

We highlight here our preliminary results from our ongoing study in the Belcher Islands and Foxe Basin, where we started deploying ringed seals with instruments that relay location and diving behaviour data. This is the first time such data are obtained for ringed seals in these areas, so we are very excited to share this information. Efforts are made to update the seal tracks below regularly, so they represent our latest data available as closely as possible.

People

This project is supervised by Dr. Steven H. Ferguson and started in 2006, as part of a Ph.D. programme (Magaly Chambellant), and now also developed into a postdoctoral study (Dr. Sebastian P. Luque). We are also collaborating with Dr. Lily Peacock to investigate relationships between polar bears and ringed seals in Foxe Basin through satellite telemetry. Residents from the communities of Sanikiluaq and Igloolik, NU, including the Hunters and Trappers Association of Nunavut, and the MITIQ Cooperative have provided invaluable assistance. Lucassie and Johnassie Ippak (Sanikiluaq), Solomon Allurut, Apayata Kotier, and Joachim Alaralak (Igloolik) have provided their expertise in the field from the beginning of the project. We are grateful for their support and look forward to strengthening our collaboration with them and developing closer ties with the communities of Sanikiluaq and Igloolik at large. Tara Bortoluzzi (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) and Carie Hoover (University of British Columbia) participated during field work in 2008.

Ringed seal movements

Below are animated movements of ringed seals deployed since 2006 in mpeg4 (*.mp4) movie format. Times shown are UTC.

Seal locations have been superficially filtered for erroneous data in the movements, but results from an improved method will be presented as analyses progress.

Notes

  • The track animations are updated every Monday 09:00 (Central Time).
  • In the summer of 2008, we deployed 2 bearded seals with PTTs. As with ringed seals, this is very exciting for us, since the movements of neither of these species have been studied in Hudson Bay. See their tracks below.

Announcements

  • Track animations are currently not being updated due to temporary problems with the animation software. This problem has caused some of the 2009 tracks below to break. Another announcement will be made once the problem has been resolved and the animations redone.

Overview of currently active transmitters

Belcher Islands

Foxe Basin

Transmission summary

Summary of locations received per individual for the last 5 days of available data.

ID 2012-11-09 2012-11-10 2012-11-11 2012-11-12 2012-11-13 2012-11-14
Sum 85 202 252 242 238 139
ARSQ-2012-0012 12 16 11 16 19 10
ARSQ-2012-0007 4 6 7 10 10 4
ARSQ-2012-0011 6 22 28 19 24 14
ARSQ-2012-0016 7 16 23 19 14 11
ARSQ-2012-0005 4 6 13 19 14 9
ARSQ-2012-0010 8 19 21 19 16 12
ARSQ-2012-0013 7 11 25 28 27 12
ARSQ-2012-0006 1 6 3 7 4 6
ARSQ-2012-0014 5 20 22 21 25 6
ARSQ-2012-0008 8 11 21 14 15 9
ARSQ-2012-0009 3 5 7 13 9 9
ARSQ-2012-0015 8 11 16 20 13 7
ARSQ-2012-0003 1 14 15 10 11 9
ARSQ-2012-0002 6 16 16 14 17 13
ARSQ-2012-0004 5 23 24 13 20 8

Belcher Islands

2012

ARSQ-2012-0002

Juvenile female, 30.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0003

Adult male, 48.5 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0004

Adult female, 67.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0005

Adult male, 51.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0006

Male pup, 21.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0007

Juvenile male, 30.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0008

Female pup, 20.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0009

Adult male, 55.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0010

Juvenile male, 27.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0011

Juvenile male, 47.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0012

Juvenile female, 42.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0013

Juvenile female, 46.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0014

Male pup, 26.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0015

Juvenile male, 37.0 kg.

ARSQ-2012-0016

Adult male, 49.0 kg.

2011

ARSQ-2011-0005

Juvenile female, 30.6 kg.

ARSQ-2011-0006

Juvenile male, 40.0 kg.

ARSQ-2011-0007

Juvenile male, 28.1 kg.

ARSQ-2011-0009

Juvenile male, 37.5 kg.

ARSQ-2011-0010

Juvenile female, 43.0 kg.

ARSQ-2011-0011

Adult male, 57.8 kg.

ARSQ-2011-0012

Juvenile female, 26.5 kg.

ARSQ-2011-0014

Juvenile male, 39.2 kg.

2010

ARSQ-2010-0963

Juvenile female, 40.0 kg.

ARSQ-2010-0964

Adult male, 46.0 kg.

ARSQ-2010-0969

Adult female, 37.0 kg.

ARSQ-2010-0970

Juvenile female, 36.0 kg.

ARSQ-2010-0971

Adult female, 38.0 kg.

ARSQ-2010-0972

Adult female, 43.0 kg.

ARSQ-2010-0973

Juvenile male, 33.0 kg.

ARSQ-2010-0974

Adult female, 30.0 kg.

ARSQ-2010-0975

Adult male, 74.0 kg.

2009

ARSQ-2009-0897

Juvenile male, 23.0 kg.

ARSQ-2009-0900

Adult female, 31.0 kg.

ARSQ-2009-0903

Juvenile male, 15.5 kg.

ARSQ-2009-0899

Adult male, 60.0 kg.

ARSQ-2009-0898

Adult male, 37.5 kg.

ARSQ-2009-0905

Adult male, 47.0 kg.

ARSQ-2009-0904

Adult female, 33.0 kg.

ARSQ-2009-0908

Adult male, 54.0 kg.

2008

ARSQ-2008-0767

Adult male, 69.0 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0768

Adult female, 57.0 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0780

Juvenile male, 30.0 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0783

Adult female, 57.0 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0769

Adult female, 73.0 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0781

Adult male, 36.5 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0784

Juvenile male, 35.0 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0778

Adult male, 73.5 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0775

Juvenile female, 23.5 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0785

Juvenile female bearded seal, 67.5 kg.

ARSQ-2008-0782

Juvenile female bearded seal, 101.5 kg.

2007

ARSQ-2007-0635

Adult female, 49.5 kg.

ARSQ-2007-0636

Juvenile female, 37.75 kg.

ARSQ-2007-0637

Female pup, 16.5 kg.

ARSQ-2007-0638

Male pup, 24.0 kg.

ARSQ-2007-0639

Adult male, 66.5 kg.

ARSQ-2007-0640

Male pup, 26.5 kg.

ARSQ-2007-0641

Juvenile male, 33.0 kg.

ARSQ-2007-0642

Juvenile female, 27.0 kg.

2006

ARSQ-2006-0523

Male pup, 26.2 kg.

ARSQ-2006-0530

Juvenile female, 58.0 kg.

ARSQ-2006-0529

Juvenile male, 39.0 kg.

ARSQ-2006-0524

Female pup, 16.2 kg.

ARSQ-2006-0527

Male pup, 30.0 kg.

ARSQ-2006-0525

Adult female, 55.0 kg.

ARSQ-2006-0521

Adult female, 95.0 kg.

ARSQ-2006-0526

Adult female, 68.0 kg.

ARSQ-2006-0528

Juvenile female, 40.0 kg.

ARSQ-2006-0522

Juvenile male, 39.0 kg.

Foxe Basin

2009
ARIG-2009-0085

Juvenile female, 31 kg.

ARIG-2009-0086

Adult male, 40 kg.

ARIG-2009-0087

Juvenile female, 28.5 kg.

ARIG-2009-0088

Adult male, 43.5 kg.

ARIG-2009-0089

Juvenile male, 27.5 kg.

ARIG-2009-0090

Adult male, 60 kg.

ARIG-2009-0091

Adult female, 51 kg.

Financial support

We are grateful for the financial support from:

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Nunavut Implementation Fund
  • Nunavut Wildlife Management Board
  • International Polar Year (GWAMM and Polar Bears)
  • Government of Nunavut
  • University of Manitoba
  • ArcticNet Centre of Excellence

These agencies have made this work possible.