• Three-dimensional diving behavior of ringed seals

      Simpkins, Michael A.; Kelly, Brendan P. (2000)
      The three-dimensional movements of 13 freely diving ringed seals were recorded during the spring of 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1997 in the Canadian Arctic near Resolute Bay, Nunavut. These data were used to investigate the diving behavior of ringed seals more fully than was possible using previous data, which only recorded the vertical movements of diving animals (time-depth data). During a third of all dives, ringed seals focused much of their effort within a reduced volume, suggesting local search behavior within patches of prey. Local search occurred during descent, ascent, and bottom phases (time spent at depth between the end of descent and the beginning of ascent) of dives, but local search most commonly occurred during bottom phases. Location data from five seals were detailed enough to allow analysis of three-dimensional movements within individual dives. Behaviors were defined for the dives of these five seals based on the character of movements within the dives. Ringed seal dives included horizontally convoluted, travel, and exploration dives, but vertically convoluted, rest, and sit-and-wait foraging dives were not observed. Horizontally convoluted (presumed foraging), travel, and exploration dive behaviors were defined with similar frequency for V-shaped dives (dives with only descent and ascent phases) and U-shaped dives (dives with descent, bottom, and ascent phases). The lack of behavioral differences between dives with distinct time-depth profiles suggested that time-depth profiles were not a reliable means of classifying behavioral dive types for ringed seals.