Northern fur seal prey capture video analysis

Contact: Carey Kuhn

As part of ongoing research studying northern fur seal foraging ecology, our program has equipped fur seals from St. Paul Island, AK, with satellite-linked dive recorders and video cameras to record prey capture events. These data will be used to 1) quantify fur seal foraging success in relation to prey availability, 2) identify prey species and age-class consumed, and 3) validate the use of accelerometer data as a tool to indirectly measure prey capture.

To date, we have collected over 2000 underwater videos each between 1 and 5 minutes in duration. The videos are being analyzed in an open-source, easy to use behavior logging program called BORIS. For each video, the reviewer logs various behaviors including diving, surfacing, prey capture attempts, prey handling, etc. while watching the video at 0.1 x speed or frame-by-frame. The analysis process is time consuming and requires someone with patience and good attention to detail. Although the work is repetitive and slow going, viewing video of fur seals underwater can be quite entertaining (see link below for clips).

I request that volunteers commit to a minimum of 10 hours a week for 3 months with the option to continue longer if interested. The work will occur at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center Marine Mammal Lab (7600 Sand Point Way NE) during business hours, Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 pm. Because this is a secure federal facility all volunteers require an escort to enter the building. As a result, the volunteer will need to work with me to schedule hours while I am at the office. I will provide a desk space and a desktop computer equipped with all the software needed for the analysis.

 

If you have questions or are interested contact me at Carey.Kuhn@noaa.gov.

To learn more about the project:

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/science-blog/northern-fur-seal-food-study-post-1

To watch clips of the fur seal video:

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/science-blog/northern-fur-seal-food-study-post-6

Carey E. Kuhn
Ecologist
Marine Mammal Lab / NOAA
(206) 526-6868