Universiteit Leiden

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Comparative biology of common and grey seals along the Dutch coast

What are the main factors associated with the stranding of the two seal species? What are the factors influencing the prevalence of disease in the two species? Which human-related factors influence the populations of the two seal species?

2008 - 2015


Short abstract

The research focuses on the population biology of common seals ( Phoca vitulina) and grey seals ( Halichoerus grypus) in Dutch waters and the identification of human influences affecting these populations.

Project description

This PhD is based on research conducted in the period 2006-2013 at the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre (SRRC, Pieterburen, The Netherlands) in collaboration with several universities. A multidisciplinary approach has been applied to learn more about the different aspects of the biology and pathology of seals and to be able to obtain a comprehensive view on their status in Dutch waters.

The PhD includes several studies:

  1. Stranding and pathology,
  2. Current genetic status of both seal species,
  3. Parasite infections in young common seals,
  4. Disturbance as a cause of orphanage,
  5. The advanced pupping season of common seals.

Osinga N., Shahi Ferdous M.M., Morick D., García Hartman M., Ulloa J., Vedder L., Udo de Haes H.A., Brakefield P.M., Osterhaus A.D.M.E. & Kuiken T. (2012), Patterns of Stranding and Mortality in Common Seals ( Phoca vitulina) and Grey Seals ( Halichoerus grypus) in The Netherlands between 1979 and 2008, Journal of Comparative Pathology 147(4): 550-565.

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