University of St Andrews
 
 
Sea Mammal Research Unit

SMRU News Centre

item 308
[19-10-2010 to 30-04-2011]


News Item:
Corkscrew Seal Deaths

The Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews has produced a report of the preliminary findings of investigations in to the causes of the recent spate of "corkscrew" injuries to seals. This work has been carried out in collaboration with the RSPCA, National Trust and the Scottish Agricultural College, Veterinary Investigation Centre.

We have concluded that the most likely cause of the injuries is ducted propeller systems on ships operating in shallow coastal waters. We have eliminated most other possibilities include the effects of fisheries, deliberate killing, the effects of illegal traps and predation by killer whales or sharks.

To date, most of the injuries have been seen in animals washed up in the Tay and Forth estuaries in Scotland, north Norfolk and in Strangford Lough in Ireland. The injuries themselves mostly involve a severe, sudden and deadly trauma leaving the animals with a very characteristic laceration injury that starts at the head and travels in a smooth spiral for the length of the body. Both grey and harbour seals have been involved.

The SMRU is keeping an open mind about the possibility that this type of injury may be more widespread than these cases suggest.

For more information contact : Dr Dave Thompson e-mail dt2@st-and.ac.uk

Report on unusual corkscrew seal injuries

see here for further details
contact: Dr Dave Thompson


 

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  • “Biodiversity lessons from the Amazon River Basin: A two-part fish story”
    speaker: Prof Carlos E. C. Freitas and Prof Lawrence E. Hurd (Federal University of Amazonas and Washington & Lee University)

    building: SOI
    room: Lecture Theatre
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: Mrs Jane Williamson

    Carlos E. C. Freitas is a full professor at the Federal University of Amazonas and a visiting professor at Washington & Lee University.  He is a freshwater biologist and his main research area includes fish ecology, population dynamics and inland fisheries.  He is the head of several research projects supported by Brazilian agencies and has published papers in journals such as Ecological Modeling, Hydrobiologia, Ecology of Freshwater Fish, Ecological Engineering, and Fisheries Management and Ecology

     

    Lawrence E. Hurd is the Herwick Professor of Biology at Washington & Lee University.  He is an ecologist, with primary research interests in the role of apex predators in arthropod assemblages of terrestrial ecosystems, and in the structure and dynamics of tropical fish assemblages in the Amazon River Basin of Brazil.  He has published in journals such as Science, Ecology, J. Animal Ecology, Oecologia, and Environmental Entomology.

     

    Also visiting with Profs Reitas and Hurd is Flavia K. Siqueira-Souza who is an associate professor at the Federal University of Amazonas.  She is a freshwater biologist and her primary research field is fish ecology aiming to understand the key factors structuring fish assemblages in Amazonian aquatic environments.  She has published papers on this subject in journals such as Hydrobiologia and Ecology of Freshwater Fish.

     

    There will be an opportunity after the lecture for anyone interested in an interactive discussion with Prof Hurd and his colleagues.  Depending on numbers, this will take place in either the Laverack or Seminar Room.


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