European Directory of Marine Environmental Data (EDMED)

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Data set name

Common seal distribution and numbers in August (1988-1992)

Data holding centreSea Mammal Research Unit
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
Time periodAugust 1988 to August 1992 (annual surveys)
Geographical area

UK coast, especially Scotland and the Wash plus surrounds in England


Seal abundance; Seal behaviour; Seal mortality; Seal morphology and physiology




Seal population data is collected in late July and early August during the common seal annual moult. A helicopter is used to survey rocky haul-out sites as in the northern isles and all north and west Scotland coasts; a fixed-wing aircraft is used to survey haul-out sites on sandbanks as in the Wash. Data provide details of common and grey seal distribution and density during August. They also provide an estimate of the minimum size of the British Common seal population. Data are recorded on 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps and video tape and are held in a database at the Sea Mammal Research Unit, Cambridge. Certain stretches of coastline have been surveyed more than once and for these, mean figures are used. Data are supplied at three levels of detail: raw data with plotting accuracy to the nearest 100m square; data combined within 1km squares; data combined within 10km squares. Release of data should be restricted to the 10km square data set. Requests for more detailed information should be directed to A.R. Hilby or C.D. Duck at SMRU.

OriginatorsSea Mammal Research Unit
OrganisationSea Mammal Research Unit
AvailabilityBy negotiation
ContactProf.. Mike Fedak

Sea Mammal Research Unit
University of St Andrews Gatty Marine Laboratory
St Andrews
KY16 8LB
United Kingdom

Telephone+44 1223 311354
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1055002
Global identifier759
Last revised2009-11-30