Mapping the Oceans with Seals

Oceanographers glued sensors to 57 seals and used their natural movements as a means of gathering information about Antarctic ocean conditions:

As the animals swim, the tags record information every few seconds, then relay it via satellite once the seals surface. About 30 percent of the time seals dive all the way to the bottom to forage for food, says Padman, so by studying enough dives for each animal — some 200,000 dives in total — the researchers can deduce where the seafloor lies.[...]

Other researchers might now be inspired to dig through seal data to see what features could be mapped, he adds. Ships can cost tens of thousands of dollars a day to operate in Antarctic waters, whereas there is a wealth of readily available information available on seal tags.

Link via Super Punch | Photo: Daniel Costa

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