Grey seal population dynamics

To facilitate evidence based management for the Icelandic grey seal population, this project aims to monitor and investigate several ecological parameters of the grey seal population. Previous research on factors affecting pup production, pup development and timing of pupping in the Icelandic grey seal population is scarce. Hence, further research in this area is necessary. Increased knowledge regarding this is necessary for implementation in the management of seal hunting management. Information on pup production and pup survival, along with knowledge on population trends, creates a foundation for the number of animals that can be removed from a population on an annual basis.

Identifying the timing of the pupping period, as well as annual differences in when the period occurs and factors that affect the timing, are also important. The grey seal population census is carried out during the pupping period and the total number of grey seal in the population is estimated by counting the number of pups born every year and then applying a correction factor. Therefore, to ensure that the census is conducted during the peak of the pupping season, the results generated in this project are of extreme importance. Methods used to obtain the necessary data include direct observations of pups at site and flipper tagging of pups.