Mapping Steller sea lion reproduction
"The Steller sea lion care and research conducted is permitted under National Marine Fisheries Service permit number 18534."
The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is investigating Steller sea lion reproductive physiology and maternal investment utilizing captive animals. Over the course of the breeding program, the ASLC has successfully produced two offspring as part of their long term research study. The goals of the study are multifaceted and include data such as maternal health, energetic transfer, and pup condition. As part of the ongoing collections, the study has produced preliminary data quantifying contaminant offload via milk, blood, and blubber into offspring and changes in blood parameters between pregnant and non-pregnant adult female sea lions. While tracking longitudinal blood parameters and trends in contaminant offload is novel and reflective of the unique opportunities captive research can offer, studies on large marine animals that have lengthy gestation and lactation cycles require time. As such, the ASLC proposes to continue the Steller sea lion breeding program to better understand these mechanisms during pregnancy and lactation. The enhanced understanding of reproductive processes should enable us to identify critical stages in Steller sea lion reproductive biology for comparisons to free-ranging counterparts.
Start Date: 2012-10-00
End Date: 2016-09-00