We present evidence that Pacific sleeper sharks Somniosus pacificus co-occur with harbor seals Phoca vitulina in Glacier Bay, Alaska, and that these sharks scavenge or prey on marine mammals. In 2002, 415 stations were fished throughout Glacier Bay on a systematic sampling grid. Pacific sleeper sharks were caught at 3 of the 415 stations, and at one station a Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis was caught with a fresh bite, identified as the bite of a sleeper shark. All 3 sharks and the shark-bitten halibut were caught at stations near the mouth of Johns Hopkins Inlet, a glacial fjord with the highest concentration of seals in Glacier Bay. Using a bootstrap technique, we estimated the probability of sampling the sharks (and the shark-bitten halibut) in the vicinity of Johns Hopkins Inlet. If sharks were randomly distributed in Glacier Bay, the probability of sampling all 4 pots at the mouth of Johns Hopkins Inlet was very low (P = 0.00002). The highly non-random distribution of the sleeper sharks located near the largest harbor seal pupping and breeding colony in Glacier Bay suggests that these 2 species co-occur and may interact ecologically in or near Johns Hopkins Inlet. Copyright ?? 2005 by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
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Co-occurrence of Pacific sleeper sharks Somniosus pacificus and harbor seals Phoca vitulina in Glacier Bay