Presentation Title

Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris) Pupping Site Fidelity Through Time at Point Reyes National Seashore

Location

Online - Session 3A

Start Date

4-21-2021 2:10 PM

Major Field of Study

Biological Sciences

Student Type

Undergraduate - Honors

Faculty Mentor(s)

Doreen Gurrola, MS

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris) Pupping Site Fidelity Through Time at Point Reyes National Seashore

Wyatt Walsh1, Noelle Mauricio1, Logan Siemers1, Doreen Gurrola1, Sarah Codde2

1Dominican University of California, 50 Acacia Ave San Rafael, CA 94901

2Point Reyes National Seashore, 1 Bear Valley Rd Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

wyatt.walsh@students.dominican.edu

Since the 1980’s Point Reyes National Parks service staff have been contributing to a database of population counts for northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) at Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS) in Marin County. In 2016 a group of Dominican University students began contributing to the database by surveying major haul out sites in PRNS. Seals were observed hauling out year round at several sites near the Chimney Rock Headland. These subsites included Drakes Beach, South Beach, and Point Reyes Headlands. Data on the total number of seals at each haul out site, gender, age ratio and weather conditions were collected weekly under PRNS permits. After three seasons of surveys, one student decided to analyze the relationship between pupping sites through time. By looking at the years 2009 to 2019, we are able to see recent change, and the effects of multiple El Niño years on pupping sites. A series of natural phenomena have shifted the number of individual seals pupping at each of the main sites previously mentioned. The objective of this case study is to track and quantify the change in number of cows having pups at each site during this time period. Effects of climate change is likely one reason as to why we see such changes over the course of this study. Additionally, by discussing the pros and cons of each site's landscape, we can reason why individuals have chosen the areas they have to birth their pups.

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Apr 21st, 2:10 PM

Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris) Pupping Site Fidelity Through Time at Point Reyes National Seashore

Online - Session 3A

Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris) Pupping Site Fidelity Through Time at Point Reyes National Seashore

Wyatt Walsh1, Noelle Mauricio1, Logan Siemers1, Doreen Gurrola1, Sarah Codde2

1Dominican University of California, 50 Acacia Ave San Rafael, CA 94901

2Point Reyes National Seashore, 1 Bear Valley Rd Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

wyatt.walsh@students.dominican.edu

Since the 1980’s Point Reyes National Parks service staff have been contributing to a database of population counts for northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) at Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS) in Marin County. In 2016 a group of Dominican University students began contributing to the database by surveying major haul out sites in PRNS. Seals were observed hauling out year round at several sites near the Chimney Rock Headland. These subsites included Drakes Beach, South Beach, and Point Reyes Headlands. Data on the total number of seals at each haul out site, gender, age ratio and weather conditions were collected weekly under PRNS permits. After three seasons of surveys, one student decided to analyze the relationship between pupping sites through time. By looking at the years 2009 to 2019, we are able to see recent change, and the effects of multiple El Niño years on pupping sites. A series of natural phenomena have shifted the number of individual seals pupping at each of the main sites previously mentioned. The objective of this case study is to track and quantify the change in number of cows having pups at each site during this time period. Effects of climate change is likely one reason as to why we see such changes over the course of this study. Additionally, by discussing the pros and cons of each site's landscape, we can reason why individuals have chosen the areas they have to birth their pups.