Daniel Costa at Isla Lobos, Uruguay-- We finished deploying 10 tags on the sea lions. It was an interesting experience working on a new species with a totally new field team, with variable experience. Most importantly is that, with the exception of Dave Shuman the vet who came along to do the anesthesia I had not worked with any of the people before. Having said that it was amazing how fast the field team came together even though some members spoke different languages (Spanish vs English).
Daniel Costa at Isla Lobos, Uruguay-- We've been busy over the last few days. We've succeeded in deploying 8 tags out of the 10 we planned on! So we have only two more to go before we've accomplished our goal. We should be able to have all the tags out tonight and tomorrow morning. Given that it gets really warm here in the mid day, we get up at first light and work until mid morning when it gets too hot for us and the sea lions.
Dan Costa is in Uruguay satellite tagging South American sea lions. When he's not busy tagging, he's been sending updates and images from the field. Check out these images and upcoming blogs to learn more about tagging these giant sea lions! All photos were taken by Daniel Costa.
Daniel Costa at Isla Lobos, Uruguay-- We got up at first light this morning and caught our first South American sea lion!! It was quite an event with a crew of locals, some speak English and others only Spanish. At times it was a little awkward, especially when most of the people have never caught a sea lion before! It all went well, but these animals are big. They are massive. The female only weighed about 150 kg (or 330 lbs), but she seemed gigantic. They are mellow animals and once underway things went quite well.
Daniel Costa at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab -- To wrap up our Antarctic adventure, here are a few last photos from our field work down south. These images were taken on the last few days at Cape Shirreff. By the way, according to Wikipedia, Cape Shirreff (62°27S, 60°47W) is " a prominent cape at the north end of the rocky cove which separates Hero and Barclay bays on the north coast of Livingston Island, in the South Shetland Islands. Named by Edward Bransfield in 1820 for Captain William H.
Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, returning from Antarctica -- We weren't sure it would work....but we did it! We tagged four leopard seals!
When I first went to Cape Shirreff, a remote outpost in the Shetland Islands, in the late 1990's, you could count on seeing the occasional leopard seal. If you were lucky, you might see a leopard seal take a pup or a penguin.
Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, Drake Passage, Antarctica -- To give you a feel for where we've been working these last few weeks, the first image shows what it's like on a clear sunny day at Cape Shirreff, a remote outpost in the Shetland Islands, about 72 miles from the Antarctic mainland. the That's the overall study sight for the fur seal work we're been doing, as well as where we tagged elephant seals and leopard seals. The second is within the area shown in the first image.
Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, Drake Passage, Antarctica -- We recently returned to the ship after spending the last few weeks on Cape Shirreff. Given the limited e-mail capacity of the Cape Shirreff field station, I was not able to send e-mail updates or images.
Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, off Livingston Island, Antarctica - We just finished the fur seal surveys for this leg of the cruise. We
are now moving operations to the field camp at Cape Shirreff. Once on the Island we will be deploying CTD telemetry tags on southern elephant seals and standard satellite telemetry tags on leopard seals. The leopard seal work will be a new project for us, and rather exciting!!
Dan Costa, aboard the Yuzomegeologia, off Livingston Island - For the last two days, we've been busy counting fur seal pups to get an idea of how their population is doing. We count the pups, because the moms often go to sea to feed. If we counted females on the beach, we'd only count 20-30% of the number of females in the rookery here. The time they spend at sea varies from season to season, so you can't correct for the number present. So, we just count the number of pups.