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grey seal development


Project leader: Prof. Prof. h. c. Dr. Ursula Siebert
Scientist: Marcus Fähndrich
Project term: June 2020 until May 2023
Sponsorship: Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and Digitalisation (MELUND)

Project Description 

The grey seal populations in the North Sea and Baltic waters of Schleswig-Holstein continued to increase in recent years. The urgency to investigate the health status of these marine mammals is growing with the populations, due to the assumption that grey seals may play a part in the spread of infectious diseases in consequence of their migratory behaviour. This research project aims to investigate the health status and causes of death of grey seals dying in coastal waters of Schleswig-Holstein. The parasitic, viral and bacterial burden, including zoonotic infectious agents, shall be assessed in terms of potential changes. Grey seals found and transported to the ITAW for examination in the investigation period 2020 to 2023 shall be fully necropsied. Histological, parasitological, virological and microbiological investigations will be conducted. Furthermore, these data will be compared with results from previous years in order to assess the health status development. Additionally, the development of habitat utilisation and genetic composition of the grey seal populations shall be investigated and evaluated. In this process, possible changes of haul-out and pupping site use shall be analysed. The gained data will be exchanged with neighbouring countries. The Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS), the Trilateral Seal Expert Group (TSEG) as well as the HELCOM Seal Health Group for the Baltic Sea and the OSPAR Marine Mammal Expert Group play an important role here.

Contact person

University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research Werftstr. 6 25761 Büsum


Marcus Fähndrich


Tel.:+49 511 856-8154

Fax.:+49 511 856-8181


send e-mail

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum
Tel.:+49 511 856-8154
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