Comparative examination of feeding mechanisms in four phocid seals

 

The genesis of giants: behavioral, social, and vocal development of northern elephant seals

Watch Dr. Caroline Casey’s virtual presentation at the 57th Annual Conference of the Animal Behavior Society (July 2020).

 

Physiology and Health of Cooperating Arctic Seals

Here at Long Marine Laboratory, a group of scientists and trained Arctic seals works closely together to learn more about the biology and physiology of these ice-dependent species. This research is part of a collaborative effort between Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz, California and the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska to work with and study the largest population of captive ice-dependent seals in the world.

 

Labside Chats: A Conversation with a Scientist, featuring Caroline Casey, Ph.D.

 

Labside Chats: A Conversation with a Scientist, featuring Sarah McKay Strobel, Ph.D.

 

Energetic Requirements of Ice-Dependent Seals

At Long Marine Laboratory in Santa Cruz, California and the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska a group of scientists is working cooperatively with ice-dependent ringed, spotted, and bearded seals to learn more about their biology and physiology. In particular, we are investigating the energetic requirements of these species so we can better understand how they will adapt to a changing Arctic environment.

 

Talking with Elephant Seals

Our research team has combined observational and experimental approaches to determine what kind of information is encoded within the vocalizations of male elephant seals. We have found that males use individual vocal signatures to recognize and respond to familiar opponents. This type of communication system, which relies on an individual’s ability to learn the calls of familiar rivals, allows males to minimize the costs of conflict during breeding.

 

Sea Lion Sign Language

 

Rio on Nat Geo Wild

Rio is a female, born in captivity in 1985 and reared by a human surrogate mother. She’s lived at LML all her life and has participated in a wide range of studies relating to imprinting, visual and acoustic perception, associative learning, concept formation, and memory. Rio is well known for being the first nonhuman animal to demonstrate equivalence classification, a complex cognitive skill once thought to be limited to human

 

Ringed seal underwater hearing

An adult male ringed seal, Natchek, performs an underwater hearing test in the large, quiet testing pool at Long Marine Laboratory. Natchek was previously on loan from SeaWorld San Diego so that he could participate in our Arctic seal bioacoustics project, and he helped us to learn more about the hearing abilities of ice-dependent northern seals.

 

Vibrotactile Detection Test

This video features our adult male harbor seal, Sprouts, performing a behavioral detection task with his vibrissae. Seals use their vibrissae, or whiskers, to detect and follow hydrodynamic wakes such as those produced by moving fish.

 

 

 

 

Bearded seal underwater hearing

A young male bearded seal, Noatak, participates in an underwater hearing test in our large, quiet testing pool at Long Marine Laboratory. Noatak is helping us to learn more about thepreviously unstudied auditory biology of his species, as part of our Arctic seal bioacoustics project.

 

Spotted seal masked underwater hearing

Amak is a male spotted seal who stranded as a pup and was rescued by the Alaska SeaLife Center in 2010. He participated in our laboratory’s ongoing project studying the hearing capabilities of Arctic seals. In this video, you can watch him perform a sound detection task under water.

 

Spotted Seal Underwater Hearing

 

Spotted Seal In-air Hearing

Spotted seal Tunu performs a hearing test in our specialized hemi-anechoic acoustic chamber. This work helps us learn more about the sensitivity of seals to different types of airborne sounds.