Temporal and spatial variation in age-specific survival rates of a long-lived mammal, the Hawaiian monk seal

Jason Daniel Baker, Paul M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)


Estimates of variability in pinniped survival rates are generally based on observations at single sites, so it is not certain whether observed rates represent the whole population. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of spatio-temporal variation in age-specific survival rates for endangered Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) based on capture-recapture analyses of more than 85% of the pups weaned in this population over the last two decades. Uniquely, these data have been collected from six subpopulations, encompassing all major breeding sites across its 1800 km long core range. Analyses of individual subpopulations revealed similar patterns in age-specific survival, characterized by the relatively low survival rates from weaning to 2 years of age, intermediate rates to 4 years of age, and then by relatively high 'mature' survival rates until 17 years of age, after which a senescent decline was observed. Juvenile, subadult and adult survival rates all varied significantly over time. Trends in survival among subpopulations were coherent with their relative geographical positions, suggesting regional structuring and connectedness within the archipelago. Survival rates for different age classes tended to be positively correlated, suggesting that similar factors may influence the survival for seals of all ages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-415
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences
Issue number1608
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2007


  • Hawaiian monk seal
  • life history
  • survival
  • senescence
  • spatial variability
  • temporal variability
  • trichechus-manatus-latirostris
  • natural-populations
  • McMurdo sound
  • leptonychotes-weddellii
  • monachus-schauinslandi
  • marked animals
  • fur seals
  • Antarctica
  • abundance


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