Climate change is impacting marine species, causing shifts in occurrence, distribution, and phenology, which can ultimately effect ecosystem structure and functioning (Parmesan & Yohe 2003; Burrows et al. 2011). The study of the timing of recurring biological events throughout an organism’s life is known as phenology (Parmesan & Yohe 2003). The way organisms respond to climate change through altered timing offers insight into their sensitivity and adaptability (Parmesan & Yohe 2003).
To gain an understanding of pinniped vulnerability to climate change, specifically through changes in phenology, a comprehensive literature search was conducted using several online databases (e.g., Web of Science, Google Scholar and PubMed). Combinations of relevant terms were searched in order to find studies pertaining to the life history of two regionally important pinniped species: the gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) and the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). Although special attention was given to studies conducted in the Northwestern Atlantic region, publications giving information on populations in other parts of the world provided important proxy information. Keyword searches were conducted in Web of Science and Google Scholar and represent the published literature through 2017. The remainder of the publications found were cited in the literature returned from the two searches.
This document provides an annotated bibliography organized by species (gray and harbor seals) and region, with topical sections for important attributes (e.g. foraging). The focus of this search was for the Gulf of Maine region, but other relevant information yielded by the literature search is presented in order of approximate distance from the focal area.