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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
  • MML Research Recent MML Bearded Seal Publications
    • BREED, G. A., M. F. CAMERON, J. M. VER HOEF, P. L. BOVENG, A. WHITING, and K. J. FROST. 2018. Seasonal sea ice dynamics drive movement and migration of juvenile bearded seals Erignathus barbatus. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 600:223-237.   Online.
    • CAMERON, M. F., K. J. FROST, J. M. Ver HOEF, G. A. BREED, A. V. WHITING, J. GOODWIN, and P. L. BOVENG. 2018. Habitat selection and seasonal movements of young bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) in the Bering Sea. PLoS One 13(2):e0192743. DOI:   Online.
    • MacINTYRE, K. Q., K. M. STAFFORD, P. B. CONN, K. L. LAIDRE, and P. L. BOVENG. 2015. The relationship between sea ice concentration and the spatio-temporal distribution of vocalizing bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas from 2008 to 2011. Prog. Oceanogr. 136:241-249. 
    • 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.  
    • Search the AFSC database for additional Bearded Seal publications
    Recent MML Bearded Seal Posters
    Bearded Seal Stock Assessment Reports
    MML Education Web (these pages are targeted toward students!) Management Bearded Seal Images Other links

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