Marine Biology Research Paper: Harp Seals

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  • Topic: Pinniped, Harp Seal, True seals
  • Pages : 4 (1620 words )
  • Download(s) : 170
  • Published : October 26, 2012
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The subject of my paper is Harp Seals. I choose this topic because I find it interesting how their senses help them survive the harsh environment. I also chose it because I love Harp Seals, they are the cutest and fluffiest Arctic animals. Harp Seals, also called Pagophilus groenlandicus (in means "ice-loving seal of Greenland), is one of the nineteen species of marine mammals in the family of True Seals. (Hogan, 2010) They form the group of marine mammals known as pinnipeds. Their ancestors were most likely dogs, this is why their young are called pups. (Cossi, 1991) They can grow to about 6 feet long and weigh approximately 375 pounds as adults. Their life span is between 30-40 years. They live in the Arctic close to Greenland and form large colonies where they spend a great deal of time. The harp seals live on edges of packed ice on the open sea. (C.M.Shorter, 1999) They are dependent on the ice for breeding and molting. They are found in the Arctic and north Atlantic from Kara to the waters of Greenland and Newfoundland. “Population data for this species is scarce, however it is estimated that the northwest Atlantic populations contains between 4-6.4 million seals, the east Greenland population contains about 300,000 seals, and about 1.2 million live in the Barents Sea and White Sea.” (Erxleben, 1777) They prefer rough ice that is thick and they maintain a natural whole for the purpose of breathing and accessing water. They migrate south in autumn and return north in the summer. The migration can total 6000-8000km. Male Harp Seals come in silver gray with black heads and black horseshoe or heart shaped markings on its back, which is how they got their name. Female seals are paler in color, have markings that are less distinct, and are slightly smaller than the males. They tend to molt in April and May. The pups are born with a white coat and they molt to a grey coat with black spots within 3 weeks. Their white coat helps them hide from their enemies since...
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