Classifying grey seal behaviour in relation to environmental variability and commercial fishing activity - a multivariate hidden Markov model

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2019Researchpeer-review



  • Author: van Beest, Floris

    Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Author: Mews, Sina

    Bielefeld University, Germany

  • Author: Elkenkamp, Svenja

    Bielefeld University, Germany

  • Author: Schuhmann, Patrick

    Bielefeld University, Germany

  • Author: Tsolak, Dorian

    Bielefeld University, Germany

  • Author: Wobbe, Till

    Bielefeld University, Germany

  • Author: Bartolino, Valerio

    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

  • Author: Bastardie, Francois

    Technical University of Denmark

    Section for Ecosystem based Marine Management, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Kemitorvet, 2800, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

  • Author: Dietz, Rune

    Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Author: Dorrien, Christian von

    Thunen-Institut, Germany

  • Author: Galatius, Anders

    Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Author: Karlsson, Olle

    Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden

  • Author: McConnell, Bernie

    University of St Andrews, United Kingdom

  • Author: Nabe-Nielsen, Jacob

    Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Author: Tange Olsen, Morten

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Author: Teilmann, Jonas

    Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Author: Langrock, Roland

    Bielefeld University, Germany

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Classifying movement behaviour of marine predators in relation to anthropogenic activity and environmental conditions is important to guide marine conservation. We studied the relationship between grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) behaviour and environmental variability in the southwestern Baltic Sea where seal-fishery conflicts are increasing. We used multiple environmental covariates and proximity to active fishing nets within a multivariate hidden Markov model (HMM) to quantify changes in movement behaviour of grey seals while at sea. Dive depth, dive duration, surface duration, horizontal displacement, and turning angle were used to identify travelling, resting and foraging states. The likelihood of seals foraging increased in deeper, colder, more saline waters, which are sites with increased primary productivity and possibly prey densities. Proximity to active fishing net also had a pronounced effect on state occupancy. The probability of seals foraging was highest
Original languageEnglish
Article number5642
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2019
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

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