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.
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.