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Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus)

Bearded seals are circumpolar in their distribution, extending from the Arctic Ocean (85*N) south to Hokkaido (45*N) in the western Pacific. They generally inhabit areas of shallow water (less than 200 m) that are at least seasonally ice covered. During winter they are most common in broken pack ice and in some areas also inhabit shorefast ice. In the spring, bearded seals tend to prefer areas of between 70% and 90% sea ice coverage, and are typically more abundant 20-100 nmi from shore than within 20 nmi of shore. The overall summer distribution is quite broad, with seals rarely hauled out on land. The are generally solitary except during the breeding season. Adults are 2.1 to 2.4 m in length; the females are slightly longer than the males. Pups are born between mid March and early May; they have a short nursing period and are weaned at 12 to 19 days.

Seal Disease Outbreak in Arctic - Updated Nov 2011

  • Deaths of ringed seals in Alaska declared an unusual mortality event; walrus pending
  • NMML Research Recent NMML Bearded Seal Publications
    • MacINTYRE, K. Q., K. M. STAFFORD, C. L. BERCHOK, and P. L. BOVENG. 2013. Year-round acoustic detection of bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) in the Beaufort Sea relative to changing environmental conditions, 2008-2010. Polar Biol. 36:1161-1173.  
       
    • CAMERON, M. F., J. L. BENGTSON, P. L. BOVENG, J. K. JANSEN, B. P. KELLY, S. P. DAHLE, E. A. LOGERWELL, J. E. OVERLAND, C. L. SABINE, G. T. WARING, and J. M. WILDER. 2010. Status review of the bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus). U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-211, 246 p. (.pdf, 12.4 MB).  Online.
       
    • MICHAEL CAMERON, and PETER BOVENG. 2009. Habitat Use and Seasonal Movements of Adult and Sub-Adult Bearded Seals. AFSC Quarterly Report Feature (October-November-December 2009) 4 p. (.pdf, 2.19 mb).  Online.
       
    • BENGTSON, J. L., L. M. HIRUKI-RARING, M. A. SIMPKINS, and P. L. BOVENG. 2005. Ringed and bearded seals densities in the eastern Chukchi Sea, 1999-2000. Polar Biol. 28:833-845. 
       
    • Search the AFSC database for additional Bearded Seal publications
    Recent NMML Bearded Seal Posters
    • Will Global Warming Result in Habitat Gains for Ice-breeding Bearded Seals? (2012 conference)
      3.59 MB  Online.
       
    • Seasonal Migration of Bearded Seals Between Intensive Foraging Patches Preference and Breeding Site Fidelity
      756 KB  Online.
       
    • Will Global Warming Result in Habitat Gains for Ice-breeding Bearded Seals? (2011 conference)
      3.59 MB  Online.
       
    • Search the AFSC database for additional Bearded Seal posters
    Bearded Seal Stock Assessment Reports
    NMML Education Web (these pages are targeted toward students!) Management Bearded Seal Images Other links

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