New study assesses impacts on weaning pups
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — For animals like penguins and fur seals, life in the extreme conditions of Antarctica is matter of timing. Conditions for successful breeding are confined to a short window, when food for young is abundant.
A new study suggests that changing temperatures in the region may be upsetting that balance, posing a risk to newborn fur seals. More windy and wet weather could cause young seals to assign more energy to thermoregulation, leaving less available for growth and development.
For their study, a team of scientists led by Dr. Birgitte McDonald (University of University of California, Santa Cruz) gathered data from 48 young seals on Livingston Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula, to find out how much energy pups get from their mothers and how they use it. (more…)