Seals Tracked to Reveal Southern Ocean’s Winter Secrets
28.02.2008 - Logistics, Other
Two biologists from the University of Tasmania are currently studying Weddell seals at the French Antarctic base, Dumont d'Urville, hoping to find out how species at the top of the Southern Ocean food chain respond to changes in the ocean.
They will attach tags on to seals which send data to a satellite and then back down to earth to be studied at the University of Tasmania. These tags should supply information on how deep the seals dive, how long they spend in the water and will sample the water to record its temperature and salinity on the way. They should work for about 9 months before falling off when the seals moult.
This research is part of the global Marine Mammal Exploration of the Oceans Pole to Pole Program (MEOP), an International Polar Year (IPY) activity. It should offer oceanographers with first-time data from beneath the winter sea ice, providing insight on what happens to winter Antarctic pack ice and on the effects of climate change on seal populations.