Martin Sylvester Wolf Nielsen


Harbour seals, Phoca Vitulina, is the most abundant seal in Danish waters, but very few studies have been conducted on these animals. The seals gather at haul-out sites during summer where the seal mother will give birth to her pup and the males will stay close by, roaring from display areas to attract the females.

Only a handful of studies on the territorial behavior of the male seals during the mating season has been made, so there is great potential for further examinations.

The purpose of my study is to assess display areas and territorial fidelity of the harbour seal males during the breeding season at a known haul-out site in Limfjorden, Denmark.
The dataset that I am using, consists of recording gathered using the passive acoustic monitoring method. Here, 9 hydrophones were place in proximity to the haul-site during the mating season in 2017 between the 1st of April and the 31st of august. Synchronizing the recordings and using triangulations, I will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the mating roars of the male seals. Analyzing the “fingerprints” of these roars, I can separate different individuals and thereby their territorial fidelity, gaining new knowledge on the territorial behavior of harbour seals during the mating season.

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