ICE Ecosystems: Ringed seals

The ringed seals ICE project will provide an in-depth analyses of habitat choice, foraging location, foraging behaviour, activity patterns and annual movement cycles and explore current diet through fatty acids and isotope analyses.

These analyses will enable usto make better predictions regarding how environmental change will impact this important Arctic species and how fast they are likely to be affected. The state-of-the-art satellite data loggers that the ringed seals will carry will also monitor oceanographic conditions (conductivity (salinity) and temperature) as well as providing flourometer data that can serve as an index of primary production levels. These data will be useful for all of the Arctic ICE projects.

The specific primary hypotheses addressed: Reductions in sea ice cover will result in increased home-range sizes, prey shifting to less Arctic diets, more pelagic and less sympagic feeding and condition declines (all of which will ultimately negatively impact reproductive success).

Read the fieldwork blog

Ringed seal

Ringed seals are small phocid seals that are silver-grey through to brownish in colour. Their bellies are light, while their backs are darker and bear a conspicuous pattern of small rings that gives them their common name. Photo: Kit M. Kovacs & Christian Lydersen / Norwegian Polar Institute