News from the Isle of May – at last!

Naomi and Sean arrived on the island with the rest of the crew last Thursday – a week ago now – somehow it seems even longer as there has been so much to do to get things up and running, including starting our busy research schedule.  On the research side of things, we’ve been out and about every single day looking for known seals within the colony – these are individuals that form part of the long term study of grey seal behaviour conducted by the Sea Mammal Research Unit (http://www.smru.st-andrews.ac.uk/), to investigate a wide range of factors that influence seals and how successful they are in raising their pups during the annual breeding season. It’s thanks to the Sea Mammal Research Unit that we are here, and our work, examining individual differences in behaviour, and, hopefully, individual variation in heart rate, will contribute to this broader understanding of how grey seals cope with the challenges of raising a pup on a busy seal colony every autumn. If our internet access allows (it has been very patchy and unpredictable so far – hence the delay in getting this first posting up – and we’re already a couple of posts behind Amy+Amy from their English colony!), we’ll be keeping you informed of what we get up to, how the research progresses and what the known individual seals that we will be observing get up to!

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Naomi approaching the Isle of May – 5 miles off the Fife coast.

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One of the first mother-pup pairs we spotted on the Isle of May – the breeding season is well under way already.

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