The Natural History of Seals

The Natural History of Seals

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The seal family - the Pinnipedia includes three families, the Odobenidae (walrus), the Phocidae (the true seals with eighteen species or nineteen if the Caribbean monk seal is not extinct) and the Otariidae (the eared seals with fourteen species). This survey concentrates on the Phocidae, the true seals, though comparisons are made between all the groups where relevant. While placing seals in a large ecological framework as well as discussing general features such as their biology, social organization and growth patterns, the author looks at their evolution and their relationship with man both as competitors for food and as prey. Special problems confronting marine animals concerning pollution, net entanglement, reproduction and growth are discussed. The work concludes with a look at the conservation of seals and their prospects for the future. The book is intended for both the informed naturalist and conservationist as well as the professional biologist.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 156 x 234mm | 575g
  • Academic Press Inc
  • San Diego, United States
  • colour and b&w illustrations, line drawings, bibliography, index
  • 0121148807
  • 9780121148805

Table of contents

Introduction. Part 1 What is a seal?: body shape; locomotion; senses. Part 2 Food and feeding behaviour: food sources in the sea; generalist and specialist feeders; feeding adaptors, driving; food consumption, metabolism and energetics. Part 3 Reproduction and growth: problems for marine mammals; anatomy and physiology of reproduction; lactation; growth rates and accelerated development. Part 4 Social organisation: advantages of social grouping; breeding patterns; social structure in elephant seals. Part 5 Origin and evolution of seals: seals ancestors; fossils; possible distribution patterns and relationships. Part 6 Interactions with man - seals as prey: early seal hunting; the harp seal hunt; the elephant oilers. Part 7 Interactions with man - seals as competitors: seals and fisheries; impact on seals; seals and salmon; the codworm problem. Part 8 Interactions with man - indirect effects: seals as by-catch; net entanglement; pollution and seals; other pressures. Part 9 Conservation and seals: the conservation movement and harp sealing; the grey seal in the United Kingdom; Antarctic seals; prospects for the future.
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