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Variation in Ringed Seal Density and Abundance in Western Hudson Bay Estimated from Aerial Surveys, 1995 to 2013

Published on Aug 13, 2015in Arctic 1.43
· DOI :10.14430/arctic4503
Brent G. Young3
Estimated H-index: 3
,
Steven H. Ferguson32
Estimated H-index: 32
,
Nicholas J. Lunn13
Estimated H-index: 13
Cite
Abstract
We conducted systematic aerial surveys of ringed seals along strip transects in western Hudson Bay (WHB), Canada, in late May to early June of 1995–97, 1999, 2000, 2007–10, and 2013. The density of ringed seals hauled out on ice over the entire study area ranged from 1.22 seals/km2 in 1995, to 0.20 seals/km2 in 2013. Density estimates varied significantly over the study period and, with the exception of 2013, appeared to follow a cyclical pattern. Although density estimates also appear to follow a downward trend over time, results of multiple linear regression, weighted by survey effort, indicated no significant trend in ringed seal density as a function of year, survey date, or proportion of open water. In addition, no significant correlation was observed among any of the environmental variables and density estimates. As the proportion of seals hauled out at the time of the survey is unknown, the density estimates of WHB ringed seals presented in this study should be considered indices that might be useful to explore trends in abundance. Although our results do not indicate that a significant decline has occurred, the low density estimate in 2013 may indicate that population changes unrelated to a natural cycle are taking place. We were unable to test for direct effects of changes in food supply or predation, but polar bears, Arctic foxes, and Inuit communities in the Hudson Bay region all would be negatively affected should ringed seal populations undergo significant declines. Further monitoring and directed research are necessary to understand what mechanism may be responsible for the observed changes in ringed seal density.
  • References (44)
  • Citations (4)
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References44
Newest
Published on Jun 1, 2014in Polar Biology 2.00
John Iacozza10
Estimated H-index: 10
(UM: University of Manitoba),
Steven H. Ferguson32
Estimated H-index: 32
(UM: University of Manitoba)
Snow-covered sea ice plays a significant role in the ecology of the Arctic marine system and is a critical habitat for ice-adapted ringed seals; however, limited research has focused on the role of snow. The first two objectives of this study characterize the spatial and temporal variability in snow over the sea ice of western Hudson Bay measured from satellite (2002–2010) and how this variability relates to ringed seal pup demographic parameters. The final objective uses a regional circulation ...
Published on Apr 1, 2014in Marine Mammal Science 2.02
Brent G. Young3
Estimated H-index: 3
(UM: University of Manitoba),
Steven H. Ferguson32
Estimated H-index: 32
(UM: University of Manitoba)
Trends toward increased temperatures, reduced sea ice extent, and longer open water seasons have resulted in changing Arctic ecosystem dynamics. Expected changes include shifts in distribution and abundance of prey species for seabirds and marine mammals. Using stable isotope analysis, we studied spatial and interannual variation in ringed seal (Pusa hispida) feeding ecology in Hudson Bay in relation to environmental variables, between 2003 and 2010. Ringed seal muscle and hair samples collected...
Published on Sep 1, 2013in Global Change Biology 8.88
Laura Castro de la Guardia3
Estimated H-index: 3
(U of A: University of Alberta),
Andrew E. Derocher49
Estimated H-index: 49
(U of A: University of Alberta)
+ 2 AuthorsNick Lunn15
Estimated H-index: 15
(U of A: University of Alberta)
The primary habitat of polar bears is sea ice, but in Western Hudson Bay (WH), the seasonal ice cycle forces polar bears ashore each summer. Survival of bears on land in WH is correlated with breakup and the ice-free season length, and studies suggest that exceeding thresholds in these variables will lead to large declines in the WH population. To estimate when anthropogenic warming may have progressed sufficiently to threaten the persistence of polar bears in WH, we predict changes in the ice c...
Published on Sep 1, 2012in Ices Journal of Marine Science 3.37
Anthony J. Gaston15
Estimated H-index: 15
(EC: Environment Canada),
Paul A. Smith18
Estimated H-index: 18
(EC: Environment Canada),
Jennifer F. Provencher14
Estimated H-index: 14
(UVic: University of Victoria)
Arctic ice cover has changed strikingly since the mid-1990s, with the minimum ice extent in the northern hemisphere diminishing by 8.5% per decade since 1981. In the Canadian Arctic, ice cover in June and November showed a step change in the mid-1990s, with little reduction before that. There was a similar step change in northern Hudson Bay. A long-term dataset on marine birds at Coats Island, Nunavut, revealed that many changes in seabird biology also exhibited an abrupt change at, or soon afte...
Published on Jul 1, 2012in Polar Biology 2.00
Magaly Chambellant4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UM: University of Manitoba),
Nicholas J. Lunn13
Estimated H-index: 13
(EC: Environment Canada),
Steven H. Ferguson32
Estimated H-index: 32
(UM: University of Manitoba)
Recent unidirectional climatic trends and changes in top predator population ecology suggest that long-term modifications may be happening in Hudson Bay, Canada. Effects of such changes on ice-obligated seal populations are expected but long-term studies are required to differentiate climate-induced changes from natural variation. We conducted strip-transect surveys in late spring in 1995–1997, 1999–2000 and 2007–2008 to estimate distribution, density and abundance of ice-obligated ringed (Phoca...
Published on Feb 16, 2012in Journal of Mammalogy 2.13
Magaly Chambellant4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UM: University of Manitoba),
Ian Stirling62
Estimated H-index: 62
(U of A: University of Alberta)
+ 1 AuthorsSteven H. Ferguson32
Estimated H-index: 32
(Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
We related temporal variation in the environment to demographic parameters and body condition of ringed seals (Phoca hispida) in Hudson Bay, near the southern limit of the species’ geographic range. Ringed seals harvested by Inuit hunters for subsistence purposes in Arviat, Nunavut, Canada, from 1991 to 2006 were measured and sampled. Ringed seal ovulation rate did not change over time, but pregnancy rate and percent pups in the fall harvest increased in the 2000s, compared to the 1990s. Ringed ...
Published on May 1, 2011in Climate Dynamics 4.05
S. Joly1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Université du Québec à Rimouski),
Simon Senneville8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Université du Québec à Rimouski)
+ 1 AuthorsFrançois J. Saucier16
Estimated H-index: 16
(Université du Québec à Rimouski)
A regional sea-ice–ocean model was used to investigate the response of sea ice and oceanic heat storage in the Hudson Bay system to a climate-warming scenario. Projections of air temperature (for the years 2041–2070; effective CO2 concentration of 707–950 ppmv) obtained from the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM 4.2.3), driven by the third-generation coupled global climate model (CGCM 3) for lateral atmospheric and land and ocean surface boundaries, were used to drive a single sensitivity ex...
Published on Mar 1, 2011in Marine Biodiversity 1.74
Kit M. Kovacs50
Estimated H-index: 50
(NPI: Norwegian Polar Institute),
Christian Lydersen46
Estimated H-index: 46
(NPI: Norwegian Polar Institute)
+ 1 AuthorsSue E. Moore36
Estimated H-index: 36
(NMFS: National Marine Fisheries Service)
Arctic sea ice has changed dramatically, especially during the last decade and continued declines in extent and thickness are expected for the decades to come. Some ice-associated marine mammals are already showing distribution shifts, compromised body condition and declines in production/abundance in response to sea-ice declines. In contrast, temperate marine mammal species are showing northward expansions of their ranges, which are likely to cause competitive pressure on some endemic Arctic sp...
Cited By4
Newest
Published on Mar 1, 2019in Wildlife Society Bulletin 1.29
Brent G. Young3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Fisheries and Oceans Canada),
David J. Yurkowski10
Estimated H-index: 10
+ 1 AuthorsSteven H. Ferguson32
Estimated H-index: 32
(Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
Published on Jun 1, 2017in Ecological Indicators 4.49
Linda Nguyen1
Estimated H-index: 1
(U of A: University of Alberta),
Nicholas W. Pilfold6
Estimated H-index: 6
(U of A: University of Alberta)
+ 3 AuthorsEvan Richardson16
Estimated H-index: 16
Abstract Multi-decadal time-series of biological indices that reflect the state of a population are rare in ecological studies, but invaluable for assessing environmental regulation of population dynamics. We utilized canine teeth extracted from ringed seals ( Pusa hispida ) killed by polar bears ( Ursus maritimus ) in the Beaufort Sea, Canada, in 1985–2011, to obtain widths of annual growth layers in the cementum. Canine teeth for 75 individuals were measured and compared across years using a p...
Published on Apr 1, 2017in Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 2.18
Jing Chen12
Estimated H-index: 12
(Health Canada),
Weihua Zhang11
Estimated H-index: 11
(Health Canada)
+ 2 AuthorsDerek C.G. Muir1
Estimated H-index: 1
Abstract The activity concentrations of naturally occurring radionuclides (such as 226 Ra, 210 Pb and 210 Po) and long lived 137 Cs were measured in a total of 119 tissue samples (43 blubber, 43 liver, and 33 muscle samples) from 40 ringed seals and 4 bearded seals collected in the Arviat area of Canada during the fall of 2014. Activity concentration of 210 Po was measured in all seal liver and muscle samples individually. The average 210 Po activity concentrations were 25 ± 7.6 Bq/kg fresh weig...
Published on Feb 2, 2017in PeerJ 2.35
Steven H. Ferguson32
Estimated H-index: 32
(UM: University of Manitoba),
Brent G. Young3
Estimated H-index: 3
(UM: University of Manitoba)
+ 3 AuthorsOle Nielsen7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
Published on Mar 1, 2016in Ecology and Evolution 2.42
David J. Yurkowski10
Estimated H-index: 10
(U of W: University of Windsor),
S. H. Ferguson10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
+ 5 AuthorsAaron T. Fisk47
Estimated H-index: 47
(U of W: University of Windsor)
Individual specialization (IS), where individuals within populations irrespective of age, sex, and body size are either specialized or generalized in terms of resource use, has implications on ecological niches and food web structure. Niche size and degree of IS of near‐top trophic‐level marine predators have been little studied in polar regions or with latitude. We quantified the large‐scale latitudinal variation of population‐ and individual‐level niche size and IS in ringed seals (Pusa hispid...