Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Underwater observation of agonistic rolling behavior in the harbor seal, Phoca vitulina richardsi
Student Author(s): Hackney, Kirsten
Faculty Advisor(s): Baxter, Chuck
Pages: 32
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1991
Abstract: Rolling is an aquatic interaction between two seals which involves head to tail somersaulting, mounting, and twisting and writhing movements as the seals bite each other. It has been alternately explained as male/female mating behavior, play, and dominance establishment; however, it has only been studied from land. This underwater study found that rolling is almost exclusively male, and probably serves to establish dominance and mating priveleges during the breeding season.