Heart rate loggers are on – and working!

After another prolonged break in internet access, the field team on the Isle of May are back live again! Over the past few days we have managed to get heart rate loggers on seven seals. These small devices, which will be removed from the seal before she heads off back to sea at the end of their lactation period (about 18 days), record every heart beat of the seal. Naomi has been busy doing behavioural observations on these same seals, watching their every move, keeping a written record of what they do, along with video recordings of their behaviour.

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Here is female ‘Head-scar’ (named unimaginatively after an old scar she has on her head), with one of our heart rate loggers on her back. ‘Head scar’ spends a lot of time interacting with her pup like this, and it will be interesting to see what effect ‘friendly’ social interactions like this have on her heart rate.

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This is another female (named ‘PFT’) with one of our heart rate loggers. PFT is having a harder time than ‘Head-scar’; as she has pupped in a higher density area, she often has to aggressively defend her pup from neighbours as seen here. Again, what happens to her heart rate during such encounters?

The plan is, once we have all these data, we should be able to determine what each individual seals’ resting heart rate is (when they are fully ‘relaxed’), and how this changes when they get into difficult situations, such as the aggressive interactions described in the previous posts, and as seen in the photos here. We also hope to find out if different individuals cope better than others with these natural challenges, which should be reflected in differences in their heart rate changes.

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One response to “Heart rate loggers are on – and working!

  1. Pingback: Concerning Goo | Studying Seals·

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