European Directory of Marine Environmental Data (EDMED)

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Data set name

Marine mammal movements and behaviour (c.1985-)

Data holding centreSea Mammal Research Unit
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
Time periodFrom c.1985 onwards
Geographical area

UK waters, Baltic Sea, Norway Sea, West Atlantic, Canadian Arctic, Falkland Islands, Southern Ocean


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


Satellite tracking system; acoustic tracking systems


The aim of SMRU Laboratory Project 'Open Oceans' is to relate marine mammal movements and dive behaviour to their oceanic environment. Data from marine mammals have been collected by three different techniques: VHF, ultrasonic and Argos satellite telemetry. The VHF technique provides presence/absence data of seals in the area of automatic receiving stations. The primary target is grey seals off the east coast of the UK. Over 500 seal-days of data have been collected. The ultrasonic technique provides short-term intensive data from small numbers of seals which must be individually tracked by boat. Dive depth, swimming velocity and heart beat data and location are obtained. The primary targets are grey seals off the west coast of Scotland and the east coast of the UK, and common seals off Orkney and Norway. Approximately 100 seal-days of data have been collected. Argos satellite telemetry provides a global tracking and data relay system. Location and detailed dive behaviour are obtained. Over 3000 animal days of data have been collected from seven species. The targets include:

          Narwhal            Canadian Arctic
          Beluga              Canadian Arctic
          grey seals         UK, Baltic, Norway
          hood seals        north-west Atlantic
          elephant seals  Southern Ocean
          sea lions           Falklands
          fur seals           Southern Ocean

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 identifier1055001
Global identifier1534
Last revised2009-10-15