Nicole Teutschel at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab, CA-- The beaches are looking more empty everyday because the females are coming into estrous, weaning their pups, and returning to sea. So far 18 of 23 new satellite tags have been deployed, allowing us to not only watch the beaches clear out, but the ocean come alive as we recive satellite hits from the new set of tagged seals as they swim into the North Pacific.
Nicole Teutschel at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab, CA-- There's news from the beach! The oldest E Seal to give birth at Año Nuevo State Reserve is is 23 year old G959. G959 was flipper tagged as an adult in 1990. Tagged as an adult means that she was at least 4 years old at the time of tagging. Counting back, G959 is at least 23 years old!
Luis Huckstadt and Stephen Tavoni at Isla de Lobos, Uruguay-- We have made some progress now with our recaptures, despite the sea lions’ attempts to make our work harder than it already is. So far we’ve recaptured instruments from 4 females, and in doing so we have had a blast figuring out ways to sneak, crawl and surprise these animals before they go into the water!
Nicole Teutschel at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab, CA-- The latest news from Penelope is... her pup is a boy! Penelope, wore satellite tags last winter as a part of TOPP’s elephant seal tagging program. Penelope had her tags recovered, or removed, about one year ago.
Patrick Robinson at the Eastern Weddell Sea, Antarctica-- The Weddell seal tagging is off to a great start. We have been quite busy over the past 2 days and have already deployed 6 of the 10 tags! This is how we do it: After we have located a seal from the bridge of the ship, we assemble a team of people to go out onto the ice. We don our cold-weather gear and bring our tagging supplies to the main deck of the ship. To get to the ice, we have to be lowered by a crane (I will admit, this part is actually quite fun!).
Luis Huckstadt and Stephen Tavoni at Isla de Lobos, Uruguay-- We had a very early start Wednesday, waking up at 5:00 am so that we could be at the port in Punta del Este, Uruguay by 6:00 am to catch the boat that was going to take us to Isla de Lobos.
Patrick Robinson in the Eastern Weddell Sea, Antarctica--After two weeks of transit and oceanography work, we are now ready to begin searching for Weddell seals. We are in the southeastern Weddell sea in an area where chief scientist Keith Nicholls spotted animals on previous expeditions. Weddell seals prefer areas of dense sea ice over the continental shelf in waters between 400-700 meters depth. The seals spend most of their time in the water diving and foraging, but we are looking for animals that have hauled out on the sea ice to rest.
Erin Pickett at Año Nuevo State Reserve, CA-- The E Seal team at Ano isn't so sure about Jon's future as an alpha, or a beta for that matter. Come to think of it, if the hierarchy of male elephant seals were classified to go lower, Jon would be lower than that. Recently, he hasn't even been spotted sleeping with other losers. Instead he rests completely alone amidst sand, driftwood, and the occasional smudge of seagull poop. It's almost as if he was called hideous on national TV. Oh wait! That was Stelephant...
Patrick Robinson at the Eastern Weddell Sea, Antarctica-- The main purpose of this RRS Shackleton expedition is to study the oceanography of the Weddell Sea. To do this, researchers from the British Antarctic Survey deploy instruments on mooring lines (see previous blog posting), but also complete point samples by lowering instruments deep into the ocean from the ship. The CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) recorder as well as current profilers are the basic tools of oceanographers and provide information about a profile of the water column.
Stelephant Colbert at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab -- TONIGHT! Stephen Colbert devotes a segment to your very own Stelephant Colbert. And seagulls thought elephant seals couldn’t get any bigger. Next, I provide you a teaser into my captivating life. Don’t blink - HA! - now you have sand in your eyes! Then, an irresistible force comes on the show to argue a point. This immovable object can’t wait for the ensuing philosophical battle.