Guadalupe Fur Seals

Katrina Lee

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Basic Information

  • Common Name: Guadalupe Fur Seal
  • Binomial Nomenclature: Arctocephalus townsendi (means "bear headed")
  • Threat Level: Least Concern

Habitat Information

  • Biome: Marine
  • Habitat: Guadalupe fur seals live in the coastal waters and on rocky shorelines/recesses of Guadalupe Island and California. They were hunted to extinction off California and the seals only live off Guadalupe, however they are recently returning to California's coast.
  • Geographical Region: Guadalupe fur seals mainly live in the waters around Mexico with some off California. These seals are the rarest of all fur seal species and are the only type found north of the equator.

Community Interactions

Guadalupe fur seals have a primary diet of fish and squid, and with a small diet Guadalupe fur seals depends fairly heavily on presence of fish and squid. Due to oceans being over-fished, these seals would have to rely solely on a diet of squid. Fortunately, the Guadalupe fur seal doesn't have a whole lot of predators, it's mainly hunted by sharks.

Feeding Relationhsips

The Guadalupe fur seals are a carnivores; they only eat aquatic animals such as jumbo, hooked, and/or opalescent squid along with different types of fish depending on where they live.

Niche

The Guadalupe fur seal isn't at the top of the food chain, and their main job is to keep fish and squid populations down.

Population Dynamics

  • Density Dependent Variables: The Guadalupe fur seals main habitats are near human populations, pollution or contaminated runoffs and the tainted water doesn't help keep the seals healthy. Oil spills are a major threat to Guadalupe fur seals as they rely on their thick fur in order to regulate their body temperature. Also, the Guadalupe fur seals share the same areas with California Sea Lions, which has been known to suffer from viral diseases in the past and those disease outbreaks could be passed onto the Guadalupe fur seals.
  • Density Independent Variables: Guadalupe fur seals give birth to low amounts of pups each time they breed and with El Niño, current of warm ocean water, causes storms which can easily kill adult seals and pups.

Despite all of these factors, the population of Guadalupe fur seals continue to increase.

Human Impact

Guadalupe fur seals were hunted virtually into extinction in the 19th century with no reports of them until 1926, however at this time all seals found were harvested for their fur. For the second time now, the Guadalupe fur seal was announced extinct. Fortunately, unorganized reports revealed that this now-rare species of seal might have survived. An expedition to Guadalupe Island proved that the Guadalupe fur seal had in fact not gone extinct.
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Cellular Respiration

Guadalupe fur seals use cellular respiration to convert energy, however, like other seals, Guadalupe fur seals have an increased volume density in their mitochondria compared to a human. This is because seals need to dive under the water for long periods of time, their special mitochondria allows that.

DNA/Cell Reproduction

Guadalupe fur seals, which reproduce sexually, usually breed around June through August. This species of seals are what is known as polygynous, meaning that the males have more than one mate; similar to other species, Guadalupe fur seals breed in caves and recesses as protection. The Guadalupe fur seal does not have any special mating rituals. Their cells reproduce both through mitosis and meiosis; for example, a seal's muscle cells reproduce asexually quickly while cells are reproduced using meiosis when a seal births an offspring.

Evolution

  • Taxonomic Name: Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Carnivora, Otariidae
  • Genus Level Relations: Arctocephalus philippii (Juan Fernández fur seal), Arctocephalus gazella (Antarctic fur seal), and Arctocephalus pusillus (Brown fur seal).
  • Class Level Relations: Zalophus wollebaeki (Galapagos sea lion), Callorhinus ursinus (Northern fur seal), and Neophoca cinerea (Australian sea lion).
  • Adaptations: The Guadalupe fur seal's blubber and thick coat help keep them warm in the cold ocean water. Aerodynamic body helps them to swim fast through the water to catch food. Their flippers have adapted to bend forward in order to allow the seals to walk on land. A Guadalupe fur seal's whiskers can be used to feel for food in the darkness. Also, their claws are great for grooming.

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