Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Underwater behavior of the harbor seal, Phoca vitulina, near the haul-out
Student Author(s): Shaw, Teresa
Faculty Advisor(s): Baxter, Chuck
Pages: 25
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1990
Abstract: Harbor seals were found to sleep in the shallow waters near their haul-out. In the majority of cases a seal slept in a prone position amongst the surf grass. Sleep was most frequently observed at mid-tide levels. Pups were observed in aquatic sleep only at the water's surface. Rumbling is a highly stereotyped behavior involving both vocalizing seals (rumblers) and non-vocalizing attendants. The low-frequency vocalization is performed by males only and in a localized portion of the study site. Attendants, also males, participate in the behavior by situating themselves alongside the vocalizing seal so that their heads are in close proximity. It is suggested that this behavior is linked to reproductive activity.