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Harp Seal

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by

Karlee Sieweke

on 8 June 2011

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Transcript of Harp Seal

Harp Seal The Harp Seal's scientific name is Pagophilus, but was originally Phoca. Pagophilus means ice-lover from Greendland.They are a part of the Earless Seal species. Harp Seals live close to Greenland, in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Their birthing grounds are by Newfoundland and Labrador. Unless they are babies, they live in the water. Recently, they have been sighted off the east coast of the United States from Maine to New Jersey. Females mature sexually at age 5-6. They bear one pup per year, usually in late February. A Harp Seal's gestation period is about 225 days. When a pup is born, it weighs about 24 pounds. Immediately after birth, the mother smells the baby and remembers the scent. From that point on, it will only feed that one harp seal. They may live to be 35 years or more. Eating habits include a variety of
seafood. Crab, krill, capelin, eels, shrimp, salmon, herring, octopus, flounder, cod, plankton, smelt, anchovies, jellyfish, and squid are favourites. When a harp seal pups eats, its teeth grow. They do not chew their food, they swallow it in large chunks. They crush any shells with their flat back teeth. Harp Seals were once almost extinct because humans hurt and kill them for their fur and other reasons. Also, they are hunted by Killer Whales, sharks, walruses, and Polar Bears. They are an endangered species at the moment. Harp Seals are beneficial
to cod. As air breathers,
they can dive to the bottom,
and move nutirents like eggs and spawn to the surface for other sea creatures. During mating season, they interact with other seals of the same species. A biome is an area characterized by the forms of plant life and climate. Harp Seals live in the marine biome because they spend most of their time in the water, although they do spend some time on the ice. Harp seals look sad and worred because the chilly wind and snow bothers their eyes. Because their eyes become irritated, they water and tear up. The tears then mat the fur under their eyes. Harp seals can stay under water for 20-30 minutes. While in the sea hunting for food, they use their whiskers to pick up vibrations from their prey, making them easier to catch. Bibliogrphy

*www.animalsoftheworld.ecsd.net/biomes
*www.asij.ac.jp
*www.globio.org
*www.makolapa.k12.hi.us
*www.wikipedia.org
*www.library.thinkquest.org
*www.nmfs.noaa.gov
*www.animalcorner.co.uk *Selection Advantages- Pups use their white fur as camouflage to protect themselves from predators, as they are unable to move or swim fast. Adults shed their fur as soon as they learn how to quickly swim and move away from predators. Seals have a streamlined body shape to help them move faster in the water. Their bodies are covered in a thick layer of fat and blubber, which allows them to keep warm in the harsh winter conditions. Seals have flippers and whiskers to help them feel around as they swim. *Climax Species- The Harp Seal is a climax species because it relies on other species that dwell in their environment, in order to survive there. The seal isn't native to the area, as it migrates back and forth around the water. They would be considered one of the last species who began to settle in their environment, because the land development would have happened before they decided to live there. *Environmental Resistance- Natural predators such as Killer Whales, Polar Bears, sharks, and humans keep the Harp Seal population from growing to a large extent. *Abiotic Factors- The ice and water of the habitat in which the harp seal lives would be a major abiotic factor. Water is very important, as it is what the seal uses to travel, and collect their food. Ice is a prime abiotic factor, as it gives the Harp Seal a place to rest and dwell on. Without ice and water, the Harp Seal would be unable to survive. *Biotic Factors- The Harp Seal's diet consists of a wide range of sea food. Cod, for example, is one of the seal's key biotic factors. If it was no longer available to them, their population wouldn't be greatly affected, as there is many other sea creatures that they are able to feed on. *Ecological Niche- The Harp Seal's niche is mainly along the waters of the Northeast Atlantic and Artic Oceans. The seals depend on the water and ice in order for them to survive. The seals have many adaptations that help them survive in the harsh winter conditions. They have also learned how to hunt for food in the ocean. *K-Selection- The Harp Seal is only able to have one pup at a time, and it has a gestation period of about 225 days. Since the Harp Seal can live up to thirty years, it makes it easier for the population to grow, as the seals aren't rapidly dying after a couple years. *Carrying Capacity- The carrying capacity of a Harp Seal is moderately high, as they have a lot of areas that they can dwell in. *Symbiotic Relationships (Commensalism)- The Harp Seal is one of the main preys in the ocean, as predators such as sharks, Killer Whales, and Polar Bears feed off of them. Therefore, the predators benefit as they get energy from eating the seals, but the seal does not, because it dies. *Biotic Potential- The biotic potential of a Harp Seal, if supplies were unlimited, would still be lower than a lot of other mammals. It would still take a long period of time for the seal to reproduce, and it would only produce one pup at a time. It also takes a long time for each of the pups to mature enough to be able to mate and reproduce. *Migration and Immigration- Harp Seals in the Arctic Ocean migrate in groups from the waters around Nunavut, to the birthing grounds around Newfoundland and Labrador. The seals leave the Arctic in the fall, and reach the birthing grounds from December to February. After they are finished breeding, the Harp Seals migrate back to the Arctic Ocean.
ng capacity. *Inter Specific Competition- This isn't really an issue when it comes to Harp Seals, as food and habitat is plentiful in the ocean waters. *Intra Specific Competition- Harp Seals enjoy the company of one another, so there isn't a lot of competition amongst them. The seals mainly travel in small groups, so there isn't a lot of competition when it comes to food, as it is quite plentiful. However, male Harp Seals may fight with one another to mate with a certain female seal.
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