• bioelectrical impedance;
  • body composition;
  • condition;
  • harp seal;
  • Phoca groenlandica;
  • ringed seal;
  • Phoca hispida;
  • electrical resistance

Abstract: Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) measures resistance and reactance of a current as it passes through an organism. The validity of using BIA as a tool to measure body water content, and hence body composition and condition, was tested on harp and ringed seals. The resistance and reactance readings from BIA were compared to estimates of total body water (TBW) determined via tritiated water dilution. The relationship between resistance and TBW (% of body mass) was linear after logarithmic transformation and the two variables were highly correlated. We describe the electrode configuration and placements which provide reliable results in these seals. Our findings indicate that BIA has considerable potential as an inexpensive, rapid, and reliable technique for estimating body composition of phocid seals.