Every winter, around 500,000 gray seals congregate on a remote sandbar called Sable Island. Located 200 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, seals congregate here to rest, molt, give birth to their young and reproduce. Although they don't face many predators on the island, they do mix with some wild horses that have been roaming free on the island for years.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Marine Biologist Michelle Shero and his colleagues are currently spending several weeks studying these pinnipeds. They are studying how much iron mother seals consume in their diet and how that affects the pups' diving ability and survival rates. THE Sable Island gray seal population has exploded in recent decades, but basically 90 percent of puppies die within their first year. The team believes this is due to increased competition for food.
Check out some photos of the work below:
Shero works with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and his research is funded by the National Science Foundation in partnership with Texas Tech University and the University of Alaska.