[MARMAM] New publication on grey seal predation on harbour seals

van Neer, Abbo Abbo.van.Neer at tiho-hannover.de
Fri Dec 19 09:09:27 PST 2014

Dear MARMAM subscribers,

On behalf of my co-authors I’m happy to announce the publication of the following paper:

Van Neer, A., Jensen, L.F., Siebert, U., 2015. Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) predation on harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) on the island of Helgoland, Germany. J. Sea Res. 1–4. doi:10.1016/j.seares.2014.11.006


The prey spectrum of grey seals has to date been described as largely consisting of different fish, cephalopod and shrimp species. On the German island of Helgoland Düne, where harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) co-occur, a young male grey seal was observed in 2013 and again in 2014 preying upon young harbour seals. A harbour seal carcass with severe traumatic lesions was retrieved and post-mortem examinations were performed. In the following weeks several carcasses showing similar lesions were found. Sightings of grey seals assumed to be preying on harbour porpoises have increased around the North Sea. Increased competition as well as individualised behaviour could explain the increased number of observations, but former cases of abnormal lesions of marine mammals attributed to for example predation by sharks or mechanical processes should be revisited with regard to the emerging knowledge.

A copy can be obtained following this link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1385110114002160

For anybody working in areas of grey seal occurrence, we’re seeking any useful information relating to the phenomenon of grey seal predation on other seals and would be glad to gather more knowledge.

Please feel free to contact me with regard to this topic!

Thank you very much and I would like to wish everybody a joyful festive season and a good start into the next year!

Abbo van Neer

Abbo van Neer
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research (ITAW)
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum

☏ +49  5 11 - 8 56 - 81 62
Fax: +49  5 11 - 8 56 - 81 81
abbo.van.neer at tiho-hannover.de<mailto:abbo.van.neer at tiho-hannover.de>

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