A simulation model of the movements of the northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) population within the Bering Sea has been developed based on reported observations of fur seal distributions in the field and tagging studies. The model tracks the movements in time and space of specific groups of seals differentiated by age, sex and reproductive status as they migrate, reproduce and feed. The movements are based on probability distributions and include stochastic components in many parameters. This results in a realistic distribution of seals in space and over time which compares favorably to observations and hypothesized migration patterns.
The migration model is useful both in understanding the movement patterns of fur seals and in identifying where they are vulnerable to impacts following interaction with the results of man’s activities. The model has been used to estimate impacts resulting from hypothetical oil spills in the Bering Sea. The model could also be used to estimate impacts of other localized pollutants or from entanglement in marine debris.
French, D.P., M. Reed, J. Calambokidis, and J. Cubbage. 1989. A Simulation of Seasonal Migration and Daily Movements of the Northern Fur Seal. Ecological Modelling 48(3-4): 193-219. doi: 10.1016/0304-3800(89)90049-5