Tag: elephant seals

Elephant seal molt raises mercury levels in coastal water

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Elephant seals at Año Nuevo. Photo courtesy California State Parks.

Reasearchers link seasonal fluctuations in toxin with elephant seal fur

Staff Report

FRISCO — So much mercury has accumulated in the ocean food chain that, when northern California sea lions molt their fur, the toxic substance can traced in the water.

Mercury is one of those toxins that just keeps building up. It never really goes away, but just changes form. That’s a real problem i the marine environment, because the most toxic variation, methyl mercury, is readily absorbed and accumulates in the bodies of marine organisms. Continue reading “Elephant seal molt raises mercury levels in coastal water”

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Some Antarctic ice shelves not melting as fast thought

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Deep-diving elephant seals equipped with sensors provide observational data to beef up predictions of sea level rise

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Computer models may be overestimating the rate at which Antarctic ice shelve are melting, said a team of researchers who recently added some solid observational data to the mix after drilling a series of deep holes in the Fimbul Ice Shelf to gather the first direct measurements of melting.

Along with the drilling, the research also used data from group of elephant seals, outfitted with sensors that measure salinity, temperature, and depth. The scientists benefited from the seals’ lengthy migration, which provided some critical information about Antarctic melting and future sea level rise. Continue reading “Some Antarctic ice shelves not melting as fast thought”

Global warming forces elephant seals to dive deeper

Elephant seal. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

Southern ocean study offers detailed data on foraging patterns

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —The deep-diving elephant seals of Marion Island, in the southwestern Indian Ocean, are going to even greater depths to find prey like squid, as global warming heats up the water.

Scientists with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research who have been tracking the pinnipeds for the past few years say that warming in the upper levels of the ocean has pushed prey to greater depths than ever before, forcing the elephant seals to follow. Continue reading “Global warming forces elephant seals to dive deeper”

Amazing journey: Elephant seal treks 18,000 miles

Wildlife group tracks pinniped as part of Patagonia study

A NOAA photo of northern elephant seals on the coast of California.

By Summit County

SUMMIT COUNTY — A southern elephant seal nick-named Jackson astonished researchers when it swam more than 18,000 miles during the past year, about equal to a round trip from New York to Sydney and back again.

The Wildlife Conservation Society tracked the giant pinniped through the rugged fjords of Patagonia as a part of a research project for a new model of private-public, terrestrial-marine conservation of the Admiralty Sound, Karukinka Natural Park (a WCS private protected area), and Alberto de Agostini National Park. It will help build a broader vision for bolstering conservation efforts across the Patagonian Sea and coast.

“Jackson’s travels provide a roadmap of how elephant seals use the Patagonian Coast and its associated seas,” said Caleb McClennen, Wildlife Conservation Society director for global marine programs. “This information is vital to improving ocean management in the region, helping establish protected areas in the right places, and ensuring fisheries are managed sustainably without harming vulnerable marine species like the southern elephant seal.” Continue reading “Amazing journey: Elephant seal treks 18,000 miles”