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Thermoregulatory Behavior of the Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi)

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Title: Thermoregulatory Behavior of the Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi)
Authors: Whittow, G.C.
Issue Date: Jan 1978
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Whittow GC. 1978. Thermoregulatory behavior of the Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi). Pac Sci 32(1): 47-60.
Abstract: The behavior of Hawaiian monk seals at French Frigate Shoals
was studied in order to obtain information on their adaptation to a tropical
climate. The seals were unable to remain on the dry beach platform during
the day except during very high winds, extensive cloud cover, or rain. The
seals characteristically moved down to wet sand on the beach slope during
the day and returned to the beach platform at night. The frequency with which
the seals changed their posture appeared to be related to the prevailing microclimatic
conditions. For the most part, the seals lay in postures that exposed
their ventral pale-colored hair coat to the atmosphere. The temperature of
this surface was significantly lower than that of the darker dorsal coat. The
seals were extremely inactive while ashore; their respiratory pattern included
long periods of breath-holding, and the heart rate during breath-holding was
low. These features were considered to be compatible with a low level of metabolic
heat production and to be adaptive to heat exposure.
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 32, Number 1, 1978

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