Interannual assessment of territory quality for male sea otters (Enhydralutris) in Simpson Bay, Prince William Sound, Alaska Academic Article uri icon


  • Territory quality and site fidelity were assessed for male sea otters (Enhydra lutris (L., 1758)) in Simpson Bay, Prince William Sound, Alaska, during the summer months (May-August) from 2003 to 2006. Territory quality was coded with a score of 0-2 for four attributes: territory size, shoreline enclosure, territory accessibility, and number of females observed feeding in each territory. Total quality scores ranged from 0.14 to 1.96 (0.9 ± 0.61, mean ± SD), with the highest quality territories having large areas, moderate to little shoreline enclosure, high accessibility, and many foraging females. A total of 13.1 km2 (62.5%) of Simpson Bay was occupied at least once by a territorial male during the 4-year study, and 7.9 km2 (37.5%) was never occupied by a territorial male. There were 7 ± 2.4 (mean ± SD) territorial males in Simpson Bay each year. Five males maintained territories for two consecutive years, with their respective territories having a 16%-34% overlap between years, indicating that repeat territory holders returned to the same area. The number of territorial sea otters, the size of territories, and whether or not a sea otter was a repeat territory holder did not significantly influence the size or quality of male territories.

author list (cited authors)

  • Finerty, S. E., Pearson, H. C., & Davis, R. W.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • February 2010