“Seals Dive Deep for Ocean Data” is a quirky but important story by environment writer Chris Benjamin, commissioned by Science Friday, with major impact on our understanding of climate change. For that we should all be thanking seals, especially elephant seals, for their recent contributions to oceanographic science. They are providing the best available data from extreme ocean latitudes.
Wait, seals?! Why? How!?
Here’s an excerpt from the story:
“Trying to pass a tape measure under a two-ton giant sausage is not entirely straightforward,” says Fedak, who’s based at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.The seals are members of a growing pinniped squadron, numbering in the hundreds, that researchers have flagged over the past 10 years with tags designed by the Seal Mammal Research Unit and tailored to gather details on ocean conductivity, temperature, and depth, collectively called “CTD profiles.”
You can read the whole story, and see some fabulous images provided by marine biologist Mike Fedak, over at the Science Friday blog.
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