Ringed seals have a circumpolar distribution from approximately 35*N to the North Pole, occurring in all seas of the Arctic Ocean. In the North Pacific, they are found in the southern Bering Sea and range as far south as the Seas of Okhotsk and Japan. Throughout their range, ringed seals have an affinity for ice-covered waters and are well adapted to occupying seasonal and permanent ice. They tend to prefer large floes (i.e., > 48 m in diameter) and are often found in the interior ice pack where the sea ice coverage is greater than 90%. They remain in contact with ice most of the year and pup on the ice in late winter-early spring. In years of extensive ice coverage, they are found throughout the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering Seas, as far south as Bristol Bay. Adult ringed seals are generally 1.1 to 1.5 m with a weight of 50 to 70 kg. Pups are born in snow-covered caves on ice floes, a birth habitat unique to ringed seals.
- KELLY, B. P., J. L. BENGTSON, P. L. BOVENG, M. F. CAMERON, S. P. DAHLE, J. K. JANSEN, E. A. LOGERWELL, J. E. OVERLAND, C. L. SABINE, G. T. WARING, and J. M. WILDER. 2010. Status review of the ringed seal (Phoca hispida). U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-212, 250 p. (.pdf, 8.7 MB). Online.
- KELLY, B. P., O. H. BADAJOS, M. KUNNASRANTA, J. R. MORAN, M. MARTINEZ-BAKKER, D. WARTZOK, and P. BOVENG.
2010. Seasonal home ranges and fidelity to breeding sites among ringed seals. Polar Biol. 33:1095-1109.
- 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.
- SIMPKINS, M. A., B. P. KELLY, and D. WARTZOK.
2001. Three-dimensional diving behaviors of ringed seals (Phoca hispida). Mar. Mammal Sci. 17:925-941.
- Search the AFSC database for additional Ringed Seal publications