Estimating changes in vital rates of Sable Island grey seals using mark-recapture analysis: Fs70-5/2017-054E-PDF

“After more than four decades of growth at 13%, the rate of pup production of Grey Seals (Halichoerus grypus) at Sable Island has declined to about 4% per year. As resource limitation becomes more acute, life history theory suggests that first juvenile survival, then adult fertility, and finally adult survival will change. Previously, mark-resight analysis of Grey Seals on Sable Island found that juvenile survival had been reduced by almost 50% between the early 1990s and early 2000s, suggesting that resources may have become limiting for this population. Here, we fit a Cormack-Jolly-Seber model to the resighting history of individually marked Grey Seals that have recruited to the Sable Island breeding colony since 1978 to estimate age- and sex-specific adult survival. Males are more likely to be sighted in a breeding season than females. Only female Grey Seals with pups are regularly sighted on the breeding colony; thus, those females that skip breeding are unobservable (temporary emigration). A multi-state open robust design model was used to estimate the transition probabilities between breeding (observable) and non-breeding (unobservable) states for individually marked females that were observed on the colony from 1992 to 2016. The first-order Markov state-dependent transition model was preferred over random transition probabilities. Although breeding probability varied among years, there was no trend over time suggesting the average natality rate has not changed and is not contributing to the slowing of the rate of growth in pup production"--Abstract, p. iv.

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Department/Agency Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Title Estimating changes in vital rates of Sable Island grey seals using mark-recapture analysis
Series Title Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS), research document,
Publication Type Series - View Master Record
Language [English]
Format Electronic
Electronic Document

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Note Cover title. “August 2017.”
Date 2017.
Number of Pages v, 27 p. :
Catalogue Number
  • Fs70-5/2017-054E-PDF
Subject Terms Seals, Animal populations, Wildlife management