Harbour seals are common residents in the UK waters and although they are a protected species, numbers have substantially decreased in some regions. Reduced prey availability and quality, possibly exacerbated
Harbour seals are common residents in the UK waters and although they are a protected species, numbers have substantially decreased in some regions. Reduced prey availability and quality, possibly exacerbated by competition with increasing numbers of grey seals, construction and operation of offshore renewables, are candidate drivers of this decline. Design of a reliable tool which can predict long-term consequences of a combination of such factors on seal movement and population dynamics is therefore important. There is a crucial need for regulators, developers and NGOs to be able to make ‘what if’ scenario predictions and to model the combined effect of marine stressors on seal populations.
I will present design concept and initial results from a behaviour-based, spatially explicit, individual-based model using one month simulations from East Coast of Scotland as an example. I am using pattern-oriented modelling approach, where observed patterns, such as spatial distribution of seals (density, trip extent and duration), their time-energy budget and changes in body conditions over time are compared to modelled results. I will also discuss how the model is going to be further developed and how it can be used as a tool to simulate harbour seal movement and life history under plausible scenarios of environmental change.
(Thursday) 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Lecture Theatre D, Bute Building
University of St-Andrews
Peter L. Tyackplt@st-andrews.ac.uk