[MARMAM] New paper on diet of Baltic Sea seals covering the past 50 years

Morten Tange Olsen morten.olsen at snm.ku.dk
Wed Nov 21 05:07:18 PST 2018

Dear all

It is my pleasure to announce our new paper on the diet of Baltic Sea harbour, grey and ringed seals summarizing unpublished and previously published data covering the past 50 years

Scharff-Olsen, C. H., A. Galatius, J. Teilmann, R. Dietz, S. M. Andersen, S. Jarnit, A.-M. Kroner, A. B. Botnen, K. Lundström, P. R. Møller, M. T. Olsen (2018) Diet of seals in the Baltic Sea region: a synthesis of published and new data from 1968 to 2013. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsy159

A crucial first step in assessing and managing the role and impacts of predators on their environment is knowledge on their foraging behaviour and diet. Here, we synthesize previously published and newly generated data on the diet of harbour seals, grey seals, and ringed seals in the Baltic Sea region. More than 45 000 otoliths recovered from 3147 samples of scats and digestive tracts were collected throughout all seasons and most Baltic Sea sub-basins from 1968 to 2013. The data revealed a large extent of interspecific, spatial, and seasonal variation in seal diet, implying that caution should be made when extrapolating from one species, area or season, to others. Still, a few fish species, including Atlantic herring, sprat, cod, and sandeels had high occurrence across seal species and locations. The compiled data provide the first overview of seal diet across the entire Baltic Sea region, but also comes with several limitations. Thus, while the data presented here constitutes an important reference for future inference, it also illustrates an urgent need for standardizing methodology across studies on the diet of seals and other aquatic predators.

You can email me for a copy, or see https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/advance-article/doi/10.1093/icesjms/fsy159/5184893

Morten Tange Olsen

Morten Tange Olsen
Assistant Professor
Curator of Marine Mammals

Natural History Museum of Denmark
Section for Evolutionary Genomics
University of Copenhagen
Øster Voldgade 5-7
1350 Copenhagen K

morten.olsen at snm.ku.dk

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