Dr Twiss said: "We can see that grey seals are individuals and we want to find out if having different personalities and behaviour helps seals and other animals in the wild, or whether it does limit their ability to cope with change."
Co-author, Dr Patrick Pomeroy, Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St Andrews, said: "Our results show strong consistencies in behaviour of wild seals.. If maternal attentiveness contributes to fitness, one would be forced to ask why selection has not favoured a single optimum level of pup checking, or flexibility in terms of the number of checks made. Our next task is to find out if personality differences have fitness consequences."
There are approximately 460,000 grey seals in the world. About 40 per cent of the world's seal population can be found in the coastal waters of the UK and other major seal populations can be found in the coastal waters of Canada and the USA. The pups are born between September and November in the eastern Atlantic and January to February in the west. Seals can live into their late thirties and forties and reach weights of 250kg for adult females, and up to 350kg for adult males in breeding condition.
|Contact: Carl Stiansen|