Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Good vibrations by the beach boys: magnitude of substrate vibrations is a reliable indicator of male grey seal size

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Communication via substrate vibrations can convey information on conspecific presence, individual quality, group cohesion and/or allow for predator avoidance. Although studies have identified that various species use this modality, few studies on mammalian taxa have investigated whether the information contained in substrate vibrations is a reliable indicator of resource-holding potential (RHP). The grey seal, Halichoerus grypus, breeding colony at Donna Nook, U.K., is part of a limited geographical region where the Body Slap (BS) behaviour is performed during male–male conflicts. This behaviour is thought to have a mechanical component. We examined whether the magnitude of the BS substrate vibrations contained reliable information on male mass and size as measures of RHP, and whether reliability varied across environmental conditions. To test this, we deployed seismometers during the breeding season that recorded continuous seismic data over a frequency bandwidth of 0.03–500 Hz. Locations and times of BS events performed by individual males were recorded, matched with the seismic data, and a distance-corrected magnitude was calculated for each event. Our results demonstrate the BS generates a stereotyped seismic signature measurable up to 126.3 m away. We found a positive correlation between the maximum and mean magnitudes of the substrate-borne vibrations and a male's length. Dampness of the sand substrate had no effect on magnitude. Results of this study confirm that the maximum magnitude substrate vibrations generated by the BS behaviour is an indicator of male size and that the substrate-borne vibrations are reliable across varying environmental conditions.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume100
Early online date16 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

    Research areas

  • Halichoerus grypus, Male conflict, Pinniped, Seismic, Signalling, Substrate vibrations

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. High oxytocin infants gain more mass with no additional maternal energetic costs in wild grey seals (Hailchoerus grypus)

    Robinson, K. J., Hazon, N., Twiss, S. & Pomeroy, P., Dec 2019, In : Psychoneuroendocrinology. 110, 7 p., 104423.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Environment-sensitive mass changes influence breeding in a capital breeding marine top predator

    Smout, S. C., King, R. & Pomeroy, P., 20 Nov 2019, In : Journal of Animal Ecology. Early View, 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Changes in stable isotope compositions during fasting in phocid seals

    Habran, S., Damseaux, F., Pomeroy, P., Debier, C., Crocker, D., Lepoint, G. & Das, K., 30 Jan 2019, In : Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 33, 2, p. 176-184 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. EIRPHOT : A critical assessment of Wales’ grey seal ( Halichoerus grypus ) photo - identification database .

    Langley, I. J., Rosas Da Costa Oliver, T. V., Stringell, T., Morris, C., Hiby, L. & Pomeroy, P., 21 Jan 2019, Bangor: Natural Resources Wales. 94 p. (evidence report series; no. 280)

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Related by journal

  1. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Editor)
    1 Jan 201831 Dec 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)
    15 Sep 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Michael Munro Webster (Editor)
    1 Jan 201731 Dec 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  4. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Editor)
    1 Jan 201731 Dec 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Editor)
    1 Jun 201631 Dec 2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Evolutionary roads to syntax

    Zuberbuhler, K., May 2019, In : Animal Behaviour. 151, p. 259-265

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Male Norway rats cooperate according to direct but not generalized reciprocity rules

    Schweinfurth, M. K., Aeschbacher, J., Santi, M. & Taborsky, M., Jun 2019, In : Animal Behaviour. 152, p. 93-101

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Precocial juvenile lizards show adult level learning and behavioural flexibility

    Szabo, B., Noble, D. W. A., Byrne, R. W., Tait, D. S. & Whiting, M. J., Aug 2019, In : Animal Behaviour. 154, p. 75-84 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Testing the role of same-sex sexual behaviour in the evolution of alternative male reproductive phenotypes

    Rayner, J. & Bailey, N. W., Nov 2019, In : Animal Behaviour. 157, p. 5-11

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Comparing functions of copulation calls in wild olive baboons, Papio anubis, using multimodel inference

    Bouquet, Y., Stephan, C., Johnson, C. A., Rothman, J. M., Neumann, C. & Zuberbühler, K., Jan 2018, In : Animal Behaviour. 135, p. 187-197 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 157235287

Top