antarctica Send in the Seals

Tagged Seals are helping Australian scientists learn a great deal more about places, in the deep oceans of Antarctica, where they themselves can not travel. This summer 7 female Weddell Seals were tagged to help researchers gather information on the changes global warming is having on the oceans. The Weddell Seal is a constant inhabitant of the Antarctic, and they are now being used by an international program monitoring deep diving mammals on both the North and South Pole.

The Seals are fitted with a satellite  transmitter that relays data daily back to the researchers.  The data provides depths of the seals dives, the time they spend under water, and where they are going to eat. But, more importantly, the transmitter also relays vital information about the surrounding oceans; such as water temperatures and salinity of the oceans. So far the salinity of the oceans in the arctic have begun to decline, leaving scientists guessing that melting ice due to global warming is to blame.

However, research is done only in winter, and come spring, the seals molt and the tracking devices fall off. Scientist are planning on several more years of this fascinating seal tagging to help better understand the oceans around us.

You can read the entire article on the Weddell Seal Tagging studies here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/29/2229776.htm

 

picture provided by Creative Commons at:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

 (disclaimer: Creative Commons has no affiliation to the AC or the views or thoughts published in this article.)