Population ecology of the Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddelli) in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Since the establishment of Scott Base in 1956, seals have been killed annually to feed dog teams at Scott Base (Stonehouse and Thomson, 1967). No attempt was made to determine the effect of killing on the stock. In 1961, the Canterbury University Antarctic Biology Unit under Dr Bernard Stonehouse began assessing population parameters of the Weddell seal in eastern McMurdo Sound. To this end the unit became responsible the annual kills and weighed, measured, and collected skeletal and anatomical material. For example, over 260 skulls were collected for the development of ageing techniques. A series of papers and theses have been completed by the Canterbury Unit. A general study of the parasites of the Weddell seal with special consideration of the bile duct cestode Glandiocephalus perfoliatus was done by Featherston (1965). M.S.R. Smith studied the Weddell seal in McMurdo Sound from 1961 to 1965. He described in detail; the physiology of the male and female reproductive cycles (Smith, 1966a); made population counts and recorded daily and seasonal movements (Smith, 1965); studied the louse Antarotophthirius ogmorhini on the Weddell seal (Murray, et. al., 1965); and accumulated data on injuries to the Weddell seal (Smith, 1966b).