The status of grey seals in Britain
AbstractGrey seal pup production in Scotland was estimated through annual aerial surveys of the main grey seal breeding colonies. Between 3 and 7 counts of pups were obtained for each colony at intervals through the course of the breeding season. Pup production for individual colonies was estimated from the series of counts using a maximum likelihood model. At 3 colonies, 2 in England, annual pup production was estimated using ground counts. Between the early 1960s and the early 1990s, grey seal pup production progressively increased. At colonies in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, production appeared to stabilize during the 1990s and has remained so. Pup production at colonies in Orkney and in the North Sea has continued to increase but in recent years the rate of increase has declined. This may imply that the UK grey seal population is reaching some limit to its size. The observed changes in pup production imply that some density dependent factors are affecting the British grey seal population. Changes in either juvenile survival and/or female fecundity are the most likely options. Without knowing which of these, or what combination of these factors, is operating, estimating total population size is complicated.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (SeeThe Effect of Open Access).