Tagging of Seals to know about Antarctic’s melting glaciers

Antarctica is a harsh place for humans to work and hence, the scientists are taking the help of seals to explore more about Antarctica. Scientists from St Andrews University in Scotland have attached a small device to the head of seals that can collected data for a year.

Most of the world’s climatic ecosystem is regulated by Antarctica itself. Scientists want to do further research on how the world’s climate is affected due to Antarctica. Since Antarctica remains at temperatures below 100°C, humans find it impossible to work there.

Hence, Sea Mammal Research Unit from the same University approached the residents of Antarctica i.e. Seals to help them. Since seals can visit the inaccessible parts of Antarctica, so tagging them with a small device would be of great help in gathering information.

Tagging seals with devices have been carried out since the year 2004 to collect information about the Antarctic’s environment. It was later found that Pine Island Glacier and Thwaite’s Glacier were two of the fastest melting glaciers in Antarctica and hence scientists decided to tag seals residing over these places in the year 2014.

There are more than 6 different species of seals residing in Antarctica but only two out of them i.e. Weddell and southern elephant seals dive deep into the oceans and hence are mainly tagged with the devices to collect data.

The seals are generally sedated with darts before attaching the devices and this doesn’t affect the seals in anyways.

Seals generally molt once in a year and hence the device falls off within a year. During this one-year course, when seals travel, information like the temperature of the water, its depth, its salinity is recorded.

Earlier in the year 2014, when this project started, scientists only had 1000 data profiles from the Amundsen Sea area, but now they have more than 20,000 data profiles.

These formations are then finally compiled by Marine Mammals Exploring the Oceans Pole to Pole.

 

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