Seasonal variation in the diet of common seals (Phoca vitulina) in the Moray Firth area of Scotland

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Abstract

Seasonal variation in the diet of common seals (Phoca vitulina) in the Moray Firth, north-east Scotland, was determined from analysis of faecal samples collected at haul-out sites during each month of 1988. Data on diet of common seals in 1987 are also presented. Limitations of the methods available for quantification of diet are discussed. Although some of the observed variation in diet from month to month may reflect changes in the sampling regime, a clear seasonal pattern was apparent, with clupeids predominating in the winter and sandeels in the summer. The trends observed are consistent with opportunistic feeding on the most abundant Prey.

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