Notes for Chapter 9:
The Marine Vertebrates II: Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles

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Case History: Dead in the Water at Stronsay Island
    More on Petrie's report of the Stronsay sea monster
        Was it a basking shark?
         Check out this humorous (?!) 1933 Hollywood movie of basking shark hunters
       Was it really an oarfish? More links: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
       Was it a plesiosaur (marine reptile thought to be long extinct)?
       Similar "beasts" were caught off New Zealand in 1977 and
           washed up on Mann's Hill Beach, 1970
       See also pp. 236-237: The Gloucester "sea serpent"

  RQ 9.1: The Stronsay "sea monster" from 1808 was once considered
        to be a plesiosaur, but these marine reptiles have been extinct
        for over 65 million years. What is a more likely explanation and
        on what evidence is this interpretation based?

I. Marine Birds - More Links: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

    a) Feeding: On Shore, on the Water, in the Water,
        and in the Air
        terms: neritic vs. oceanic (Table 9.1)

  RQ 9.2: Give an example of each of the four modes of seabird feeding
        described in the text, including the name of a seabird that feeds in
        each way and a brief description of how it feeds.

        1) Aerial fishing birds exploit the uppermost meter of the sea

         Featured organisms:
           gull, tern, gannet, skimmer, booby, albatross, petrel
                Note: In the U.S., black skimmers are most common on the Gulf Coast
                    but have recently invaded southern California, commonly seen in
               upper Newport Bay. They are the only bird with a lower mandible
                    longer than the upper mandible. Why?

  RQ 9.3: Why do relatively few people ever see storm petrels, shearwaters,
        and albatrosses?

        2) Shorebirds harvest the animals of beaches, tideflats, and shallow

         Featured organisms (emphasizing common shorebirds in California):
            sandy beaches and mudflats shallow:
           egret, heron
            sandy beaches and mudflats shallower:
           curlew, godwit, whimbrel, willet, avocet, stilt
             sandy beaches and mudflats on shore:
           plover, sandpiper
           rocky beaches:

  RQ 9.4: Why is the spring migration "rest stop" made by
     red knots at Delaware Bay so important to the success
        of individual red knots, and why does this make them
        potentially vulnerable?

        3) Divers and swimmers pursue prey far below the surface.

         Featured organisms:
            marine residents:
           pelican, cormorant, puffin, auk, penguin
            part-time visitors:
           duck family (incl. goose, swan, etc.), loon, grebe, coot

       RQ 9.5 (Fig. 9.3): Explain the efforts by a king penguin in order
            to obtain food to feed its chicks. How successful is it per dive?

       4) Aerial pirates are superb fliers.

         Featured organisms:
       jaeger, skua, frigatebird

    b) Migratory Patterns

       RQ 9.6: What are common migratory patterns in the following?:
            a) sea ducks and gulls; b) coastal seabirds; c) aerial "pirates"

    c) The Ecological Significance of Seabirds

       RQ 9.7: Give an example of how a seabird can be ecologically
            important in terms of its impact as a predator and by its role
            in the global phosporus cycle.

II. Marine Mammals - More Links

    a) Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses - the Pinnipeds

       RQ 9.8: How does one distinguish a seal from a sea lion?
            Why is a walrus considered somewhat intermediate between
            these two?

        1) Some pinniped life cycles center on harem mating.

       RQ 9.9: Briefly describe the annual life cycle of a northern
            fur seal.

        2) Pinnipeds are easily slaughtered but can also recover

       RQ 9.10: Briefly review the history of Guadalupe fur seal
            populations in Mexico and California.

        3) Pinnipeds and people compete for the same resources.

       Notes: Recent El Niño events also have had important consequences. Also,
                    look ahead to p. 422 for an explanation of why some pinnipeds,
                    such as Stellar's sea lion, might be especially vulnerable to over
                    fishing and its consequential reduction in average fish size.

       RQ 9.11: Explain how Herschel the California sea lion
            achieved celebrity status in Seattle at the fish ladders
            for the Lake Washington - Puget Sound locks.

         Visit the source of the jumping dolphin at the Animal Den

    b) Whales and Dolphins - More Links

        1) Toothed whales are active predators.

                        Featured Organism pp. 9 and 221:
                       Mocha Dick "The Whale"

        2) Baleen whales are huge filter feeders.
        terms: baleen, rorquals, breach, lobtailing, spyhopping

                        Featured Organisms p. 10 and 224:
                       Baleen whales and krill

        RQ 9.12: Briefly explain what a baleen is and how it works.

        RQ 9.13: What functions are likely when a whale breaches,
            lobtails, or spyhops?

        3) Whales have been severely depleted by human hunters.
        terms: endangered species, Endangered Species Act (Box 9.1)

        RQ 9.14: When was the Endangered Species Act passed in
            the United States and how has it impacted populations of
            marine mammals and turtles?

        4) Toothed whales are intelligent animals.
              Note that brain size and intelligence are not easy to relate.
              See also Chapter 4 Notes.

    c) Sirenians

         Featured organisms:
       dugong, manatee, Stellar's sea cow (extinct)

        RQ 9.15: What does a sirenian feed on? Why are they so

    d) Sea Otters More links: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12
           Sea otter pup recently born at Oregon zoo - (see movie)

        RQ 9.16 (Fig. 9.15, see also pp. 63-64): How does a sea
            otter's activities affect the health of a kelp forest?

    e) The Importance of Marine Mammals

III. Marine Reptiles

    a) Sea Turtles
        terms: turtle exclusion device (TED; Fig. 9.17)

        RQ 9.17: What is a TED, how does it work, and why is
            it needed?

    b) Sea Snakes More links: 1 - 2 - 3

    c) Other Marine Reptiles, Then and Now

IV. Sea Serpents? (See above)

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This page created 3/24/01 © D.J. Eernisse, Last Modified 3/26/01