Habitat structure and preference of harbor seals ( Phoca vitulina) during the summer in the San Juan Islands, Washington.
Surveying the habitat, interactions between harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and the habitat and also their behavior is important to better understanding these seals. The number of seals hauled out on each site was compared to tide height and the number of seals in the water was compared between those in the fast current and those in the slow current. Distance was also measured from the lookout point to each site and compared to the number of seals on each haul out site. As the tide height increased, the number of seals hauled out on sites A and F decreased dramatically, while those on B, D and E remained the relatively the same, which shows that those from A and F did not move to the closer haul out sites. The tide height and what time of day seemed to have an effect on the number of seals in the water and the proportion of how many were in the fast current compared to those in the slow current. Also, distance may be an important factor because more seals were hauled out on A and F, which are much further away from observers on land than other sites. The closer sites were used mainly by nursing mom‐pup pairs.