The Diet of Gray Seals (Halichoerus grypus) in Penobscot Bay, Maine, evaluated through hard part analysis and fecal DNA
The goal of Dashiell's project is to gain insight into the diet of gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) off the coast of Maine, with concentration in and around Penobscot Bay. The population of gray seals in Maine appears to be expanding and she plans to delineate the extent to which this species competes with fisheries. She hypothesizes that gray seals will be eating a wide variety of prey species, including several commercially imprtant species such as Atlantic cod (Gadus Morhua). The project will utilize conventional analysis of fish hard parts (e.g. ear bones, vertebrae) found in scat (feces), and will integrate analysys of fecal DNA, a novel approach in the field of dietary studies. By examining seal scat, Dashiell will gather a comprehensive picture of gray seal diet which will give her more insight into gray seal potential positive or negative effects on coastal fisheries.
After graduating from UNE Dashiell was married and will now be listed as Dashiell Masland on publications.
Dashiell's thesis resulted in the following manuscript:
- Masland, E.D.P., Sweezy, M.A., and K.A. Ono. 2009 Molecular methods for differentiating gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) and harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) scat. Molecular Ecology Resources, in press.
For more information, you may email Dasheill at email@example.com.