Habitat associations and photo-identification of sea otters in Simpson Bay, Prince William Sound, Alaska

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Title: Habitat associations and photo-identification of sea otters in Simpson Bay, Prince William Sound, Alaska
Author: Gilkinson, Andrea Karin
Abstract: Habitat associations of sea otters during resting and feeding were investigated in Simpson Bay , Prince William Sound , Alaska during the summer months of 2001 -2003 . Sea otter locations collected during boat surveys were overlaid on bathymetry and sediment maps and water depth , sediment type , distance from shore , and position in the bay (peripheral vs . central ) was determined for each . Logistic regression analysis was used to determine whether sea otter habitat use was non -random according to any of these habitat variables . Water depth was the most significant habitat association for feeding behavior , with the majority of feeding dives occurring in shallow water less than 20m deep . Position in the bay was the most significant habitat association for resting behavior , with more otters resting in the center of the bay . In addition , digital images taken of the sea otters during the boat surveys of 2002 and 2003 were used to examine the potential of using nose scars to photo -identify individual sea otters . Both male and female sea otters bore nose scars . Forty -five percent of all individuals encountered were considered identifiable from nose scars and a total of 114 individuals were identified . This compares favorably with the results of photo -identification studies of other marine mammals , suggesting that photo -identification may be a useful tool for the individual identification of sea otters as well .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /3176
Date: 2006-04-12

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Habitat associations and photo-identification of sea otters in Simpson Bay, Prince William Sound, Alaska. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /3176 .

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