article / 13 July 2023

Pinniped Time-lapse Camera Surveys in the Southern Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore 2019-2022

In 2019, the U.S. Navy initiated a time-lapse camera study to investigate seal presence at select haul-out locations in the lower Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters of Virginia, which are important areas to Navy training and testing activities. 

Objectives for this study are 1) to improve the understanding of local and seasonal haul-out patterns, and the numbers of seals hauled out during daylight hours; 2) to investigate any haul-out patterns in relation to environmental factors; and 3) to investigate differences between vessel-based surveys and time-lapse camera data collection. The results of this study demonstrated that harbor seals consistently haul-out and are present in Southeastern Virginia from November to April as well as their spatial haul-out patterns in the area in relation to various temporal, environmental, and anthropogenic factors.

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