Study offers detailed insight into early-life behavior of grey seal pups at seaNovember 14, 2017
Male and female grey seal pups show distinct behavioural differences as they learn to forage in the early stages of their independence, according to new research which scientists believe could be crucial to the future protection of their habitat.
The pups are abandoned by their mothers when they are just three weeks old, with many of them never having ventured into the sea, let alone sourced their own food.
In a critical period lasting around 40 days after going to sea, pups have to find regular sources of food and perfect their diving and prey-catching techniques before their energy stores run out.
Using data from tracking devices, scientists showed that female pups from Welsh colonies were more likely to dive in shallower water than their male counterparts, reaching the seabed more frequently and likely having greater feeding opportunities as a result.
Although adult male grey seals are much larger than females, there is no significant difference in body size at this age and scientists think the differences in behaviour of pups may be driven by underlying physiological processes that prepare them for adult life.
The study also presented data of young seals from Scotland, showing them heading across the North Sea as far as Norway, while individuals from West Wales travelled as far as the northern coast of France. Some of the seals remained at sea without returning to land for up to two months during this early developmental phase.
The research was conducted by academics from the University of Plymouth, the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews and Abertay University, and is published in Scientific Reports.
Scientists believe the insights it provides into the initial foraging behaviour of grey seal pups around the UK could be important for the development of future protection of key habitat for these animals when they are at their most vulnerable.
Matt Carter, a PhD student within the Marine Vertebrate Research Group at the University of Plymouth, led the research. He said: "Grey seals are a top predator in UK seas, but we know very little about the early-life behaviour of young pups at sea. In the first three weeks of their lives, whilst suckling on land, they can treble in mass, but they are then abandoned and have to fend for themselves. This study fills in some of the blanks with regards to what happens when they go to sea, and will help us to understand more about the types of habitat that are important for their development."
The UK is home to around 40% of the world grey seal population and has an obligation under European Union legislation to maintain them in favourable conservation status. As part of that, critical habitats must be identified both on land and at sea where disturbance caused by human activity is minimised.
This study used data from 52 recently-weaned grey seal pups from colonies in Scotland and Wales, tagged by the Sea Mammal Research Unit. The tracking devices recorded their movements including dive duration and depth as well as location data.
The results show that in the first 40 days after leaving the colony, the pups show a fast rate of behavioural development, which includes increasing their dive performance and learning where best to source food.
Dr Clare Embling, Lecturer in Marine Ecology, said: "This initial stage is when the pups are at their most vulnerable and juvenile survival is important to sustain stable populations. Seals are facing increasing threats, such as fisheries bycatch and increasing noise from shipping and construction activities, which we are continuing to explore as part of our wider research."
Dr Kimberley Bennett, Lecturer in Biomedical Science at Abertay University, who conceived the study added: "This study adds to what we know about increasing dive performance in seal pups as they first learn how to find and catch fish. It's exciting to see such differences between regions, and in the behaviour of males and females, which might set up their feeding strategies later in life."
University of Plymouth
Related Behaviour Articles:
Online self-management support for parents with Bipolar Disorder leads to improvements in parenting and child behavior.
Beetles that copulate with the same mate as opposed to different partners will repeat the same behavior, debunking previous suggestions that one sex exerts control over the other in copulation, new research has found.
The fact that animals can use tools, have self-control and certain expectations of life can be explained with the help of a new learning model for animal behavior.
People who are addicted to cocaine are particularly prone to developing habits that render their behaviour resistant to change, regardless of the potentially devastating consequences, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge.
The researchers observed 202 parents in the Greater Toronto Area and 130 children between four and five years of age -- these children were among the 760 who were followed at the first wave at two, four, six and/or 12-month immunizations.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have published a paper regarding their work on how beliefs about food addiction can affect eating behavior.
Spanish researchers have studied the relationship between hormones and aggressive behavior in girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 10.
Communicating the results of DNA tests has little or no impact on behavior change, such as stopping smoking or increasing physical activity, finds a study published by The BMJ today.
A Plymouth University academic has published a study showing that young women with high emotional intelligence are more likely to use manipulative behaviors, resulting in a greater engagement in delinquency.
A new technique that monitors the movement of chickens can be used to predict which flocks are at risk of becoming infected with Campylobacter -- the most common bacterial source of food poisoning in humans in the UK.
Related Behaviour Reading:
Good Behaviour (Virago Modern Classics)
by Molly Keane (Author)
I do know how to behave - believe me, because I know. I have always known...'
Behind the gates of Temple Alice the aristocratic Anglo-Irish St Charles family sinks into a state of decaying grace. To Aroon St Charles, large and unlovely daughter of the house, the fierce forces of sex, money, jealousy and love seem locked out by the ritual patterns of good behaviour. But crumbling codes of conduct cannot hope to save the members of the St Charles family from their own unruly and inadmissible desires. This elegant and allusive novel established Molly Keane as the natural successor to Jean... View Details
The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior (Howell reference books)
by Bruce Fogle D.V.M. M.R.C.V.S. (Author), Anne B. Wilson (Illustrator)
"Quite simply this is an excellent book. It is well-written, with snatches of dry humour. It should be mandatory reading for anybody who keeps a dog or has intentions of so doing." -R. W. F. Poole, Daily Telegraph
How do dogs perceive the world about them? How do they see, hear, learn, relate to their owners? How large are their brains, what is their emotional makeup? Why do they suffer from stress and how can it be coped with? Over the last few years a substantial body of knowledge has been built up about the psychology of dog behavior. Combining more than twenty years of practical... View Details
Organizational Behavior in Health Care
by Nancy Borkowski (Author)
The U.S. health care industry continues to grow and change dramatically. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the industry has experienced some of the most dynamic changes that health care managers have seen. In the coming years, more system-wide changes will occur as we continue our push forward to achieve value-based health care. Health care managers are quickly learning that what worked in the past may not work in the future. Organizational Behavior in Health Care, Third Edition is specifically written for health care managers who are on the front lines every day, motivating and... View Details
Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour
by Susan Perrow (Author)
Features: A resource for families and professionals who work with children in challenging situations More than fifty stories to help deal with a range of common "challenging behaviors" A story-making model to help readers create their own stories to address challenging behaviors
Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour offers a creative approach to helping children who are facing trauma or other difficulties in their life. This collection of modern and traditional folk tales includes stories for behavior difficulties, such as dishonesty, stealing,... View Details
Organizational Behavior (16th Edition)
by Stephen P. Robbins (Author), Timothy A. Judge (Author)
Long considered the standard for all organizational behavior textbooks, Organizational Behavior provides the research you want, in the language your students understand. This text continues its tradition of making current, relevant research come alive for students.
The Sixteenth Edition has been thoroughly updated to reflect the most current recent research for Organizational Behavior, while maintaining its hallmark features –clear writing style, cutting-edge content, and engaging pedagogy.... View Details
Organizational Behavior (17th Edition) - Standalone book
by Stephen P. Robbins (Author), Timothy A. Judge (Author)
NOTE: You are purchasing a standalone product;
For undergraduate and graduate courses in Organizational Behavior.
Help Students Better Understand Their Behavioral and Interpersonal Skills
Long considered the standard for all organizational behavior textbooks, Organizational Behavior provides the research you want, in the language you can understand. This text continues its tradition of making current, relevant... View Details
The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates, 20th Anniversary Edition
by Richard D. Estes (Author), Daniel Otte (Illustrator), Edward O. Wilson (Illustrator)
The Behavior Guide to African Mammals is as different from a conventional field guide as motion pictures are from a snapshot. Whether we are able to look at them face to face, on television, or in the hundreds of illustrations provided here by Daniel Otte, this guide allows us to understand what animals do and what their behavior means.
Drawing on his own extensive fieldwork and on the research of many other scientists, Richard Despard Estes describes and explains the behavior of four major groups of mammals. Estes's remarkably informative guide is as up-to-date for the... View Details
Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition: An Introduction to ABA for Parents, Teachers, and other Professionals
by Albert J. Kearney (Author)
This introductory guide to ABA demystifies the often complex terminology, the underlying principles, and commonly-used procedures of ABA using accessible, everyday language.
This revised and updated edition reflects recent developments and introduces new key terms. Albert J. Kearney explains the kinds of learning and reinforcement processes that form the basis of ABA programs. Having covered these essential principles, he describes how the science of behavior analysis can be effectively applied to real life behavior problems. He looks at how behavior is assessed and various... View Details
Organizational Behavior: Human Behavior at Work
by John W Newstrom (Author)
Organizational Behavior: Human Behavior at Work, 14e is a solid research-based and referenced text known for its very readable style and innovative pedagogy. While minimizing technical jargon, John Newstrom carefully blends theory with practice so that basic theories come to life in a realistic context. As in previous editions, this edition will be filled with practical, applied advice and a widely accepted, and specially updated, presentation of five models of organizational behavior that provides an integrating framework throughout the book. View Details