Master of Science (MS)
Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)
Date of Defense
First Committee Member
Marialuisa E. Estevanez
Second Committee Member
Daniel O. Suman
Third Committee Member
Jill L. Richardson
Studying the population parameters of marine mammals requires that individuals be identified both spatially and temporally. Traditionally, to identify individuals in the field, animals have been captured and physically marked with a unique feature, allowing the individual to be identified in the future. This method known as Capture-Mark-Recapture (CMR) has been widely utilized to analyze marine mammal populations. While quite effective, traditional CMR is invasive and poses potential risk for both animals and researches. More recently, with advanced technology and camera equipment a far less invasive and more cost effective method of Photo-identification based Mark Recapture has been developed (PMR). To assess the efficacy of computer aided matching software and the applicability of such software for future pinniped studies, a photographic based mark recapture study was conducted across the 2011-2014 harbor seal seasons using both manual and computer aided methods to determine if the Long Island, NY population display site fidelity, in that they return to the same haul-out location over multiple seasons. Additionally, manual and computer methods were compared for accuracy and their potential use in future pinniped studies.
photo-identification; marine mammals; pinniped; site fidelity
McCormack, Meaghan, "Assessing the Applicability of Compuer Aided Photo-identification for Pinniped Studies Through the Determination of Site Fidelity in Long Island, NY Harbor Seals (Phoca Vitulina Concolor)" (2015). Open Access Theses. 557.