Seal team 8: Farewell

Dear lovely supporters,

With a bittersweet heart, we will be saying goodbye to Appledore soon. Today, we successfully completed our research symposium. This years interns presented lots of amazing data and science, and we are all sad to be wrapping up.

This field season has been a success with 27 surveys, 42 resights, and we have reported all of our injuries and entanglements of the season as well. our highest count was July 9th with 754 total animals, 331 harbor seals, and 423 gray seals. Our lowest was August 6th, with 74 total animals, 9 harbor seals, and 64 gray seals, and 1 unknown. We managed to resight Mr. T one last time on our very last trip out, and we thought it was only fitting!

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Permit #: LOC-20412, 8/7/18, J. Veo

We have also had a media crew come out from Portland, ME to film a short piece on our work here at Appledore.

We have had an amazing time while we have been here, and we are so thankful to be a part of this project. We will leave our seals for now, and look forward to the next continuing years of the project.

Thank you for sticking with us this season, and goodbye!

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Permit #: LOC-20412, 8/2/18, J.Berube

 

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Final surveys

As August continues on, we have finally reached the end of our field season. Sadly, we had our last survey today! We were sad to wave goodbye to our beloved seals, but we’re not quite done on Appledore- and we aren’t saying good bye for good just yet!

We are still just as busy here wrapping up our survey data and independent projects in time for the symposium at Shoals this Saturday.

Although-we still had more interesting finds from our last surveys!

One is that there is definitely a shark in the area-we found shark wounds on a few of our seals!

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Permit #: LOC-20412, 8/5/18, J.Berube

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Permit #: LOC-20412, 8/4/18, J.Veo

This is a really interesting find for us-and shows that when there are healthy populations the natural predator/prey cycle continues.

We only saw four cases this year of bulging eye which remains a mystery.

Another thing we often notice are seals being flushed by recreational people and boats going too close to seal haulouts. It is important to know that the public is required under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to stay 150 ft away from any marine mammal at all times. Going too close, and in the cases we’ve seen flushing the seals, is very stressful for the animal, and also detrimental for public safety. We work under permit to get our data, and we are very careful about respecting the boundaries of these animals and our permits.

Before we go, here is a lovely photo a seal in the water.

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Permit #: LOC-20412, 8/6/18, J.Veo

Stay tuned for a few more words from Seal Team Shoals!

August Days

It has been a busy few weeks for Seal Team! As we find down here on Appledore, things have been as busy and vibrant as ever. The seals have also been busy, showing off their patterns, letting us take a look (from afar of course) at their injuries, and vocalizing across the water. We have just completed our 26th survey of the season, and we still have a few while we are here.

We have come across a few interesting notes lately, such as this seal with a red tag on the flipper! Tagged seals are seals that have either been rehabilitated and were tagged to rack their progress after release, or by programs in the U.S and Canada to tack the movements of some seals. While we cannot read the number, the red color may indicate who tagged this seal-our lead is the New England Aquarium in the early 2000’s. If you ever see a tagged animal, you can go the Marine Animal Identification Network, run by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, to report the sighting, and see where that seal may have come from!

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Permit #: LOC-20412, 8/1/18, J.Veo

We also have had many resights of seals identified from previous years lately. This will give us an idea of how many individuals are returning year after year, and if they still choose the same areas to rest on. Some of our resights are:

Mr. T, who was originally seen in 2011 and has been spotted many times since, including August 1st, 2018.

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Permit #: LOC-20412, 8/1/18, J.Veo

 

Hoops, who hasn’t been sighted since 2013.

 

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Permit #: LOC-20412, 8/4/18, J.Veo

Motherhen, who has been sighted three times this year and many times throughout the years!

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Permit #: LOC-20412, 7/7/18, J.Veo

 

It is interesting to see who comes back year to year, and where they like to stay. This area is a special place, since many seals from Canada and the U.S come by here to rest and pup.

 

Stay tuned for more updates from Seal Team Shoals!

-Jess and Juliana

7/16/18

Hello!

Seal Team 8 has been hard at work here at Shoals. We have just completed our 17th survey and have been seeing all sort of things out on the water. Sadly, our list of injuries and entanglements keep growing, but so do our counts as well as notes for pups and absolutely adorable photos.

We have now taken out two more boats-the Kingsbury and the Miss Christine for seal surveys- and both were a blast!

We also spotted out first branded seal of the seal! As Canada is the only country who uses brands to tag their seals, we know that this seal came from Canada.

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J.Veo NMFS #LOC-20412 7/15/18

 

We also have a new “highest” population estimate. On July 9th we counted 754 seals! There were 331 harbor seals, 423 gray seals, and 9 harbor seal pups.

We can’t believe we have been here for six weeks already-we only have another four weeks left on Appledore. Time seems to be going by fast but we have been making the best of every moment.

Until next time!

Jess and Juliana

Settling in at Shoals

We are settling in here at Shoals Marine Lab, filling our time with seal surveys and the occasional dip in the tidal pool! We can’t believe we have been here for nearly three weeks, though we know the rest of the summer is going to fly by.

Almost the entire intern cohort has arrived, so the intern lab is full of energy.

We have been doing a lot of seal surveys over to Duck Island these past few weeks, as well as finalizing ideas for our independent projects. We’ve managed to find some interesting injuries from our little seals, including two cases of bulging eye!

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J.Veo NMFS #LOC-20412  6/10/18 

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J.Veo NMFS #LOC-20412 6/21/18

We don’t know what causes bulging eye, but it seems like seals are able to survive without one or both eyes thanks to their vibrissae and sense of smell.

We’ve had three resights of animals from previous years, including Splotch, King, and Motherhen.

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J.Berube NMFS #LOC-20412 6/16/18

This is Splotch, who was first sighted at Duck Island in 2011!

 

Seal Team 8!

Hello all! Seal Team 8 has arrived on Appledore! Our names are Jess and Juliana, and we are both seniors at UMass Amherst!

IMG_20180610_140911We have had an exciting first few days here in the Isle of Shoals! We arrived on Monday, and by thursday we were taking the Heiser for a spin to do a pre-survey of the seals on Duck Island. Though we didn’t expect to see anything, we found two seals with tags! This is exciting news, we are currently trying to find out where they were tagged so we can see where our seals have been!

We did our first real survey yesterday, and it went well! Jess was on the camera, and Juliana took field notes! We found 273 harbor seals, 88 grey seals, and 10 unidentifiable seals, for a grand total of 371 seals! We also found 12 pups.

We’ll leave you with this shot of our gorgeous new friend, who was definitely posing for us.6-10-18_Hg_white_with_black_marks_2S*_markings_see_0325_0296_IMG_0315_C2

J. Veo NMFS #LOC-20412 6/7/18, 6/10/18

Jimmies Ledge Hotspot!

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We have been hard at work conducting multiple surveys and what we have found has been very interesting. We have seen the most seals on Jimmies Ledge in the history of the internship with 115!! The first time we saw 12 on the ledge we thought that no more than 50 could fill it up; but we were sure wrong. For our surveys on June 27 and June 29, we saw 642 and 648 seals respectively making them the most viewed seals on Duck Island so far this summer! Also for the past 4 surveys, grey seals have outnumbered harbor seals! This is very intriguing and we will update you all as more surveys are conducted. On a sadder note however, we have been noticing amongst some harbor seals an eye tumor like infection that is impacting one or both eyes. We have seen 4-5 unique seals with this infection and are keeping our eyes peeled to see if one shows up on Duck Island. We hope everyone has an amazing July 4th and we will let you know how our survey tomorrow goes!

-Kadie & Ian