Antarctic researchers attach sensors to seals to study continental ice shelves


The Antarctic researchers wanted to investigate dangerous places where ships rarely sail in the region. Previously, oceanographers relied on boat studies to conduct their investigations, but this is not as reliable as they expected.

This time, scientists used seals with sensors to study Antarctic waters in detail.

By attaching them to animals, they could now navigate more easily in open water to get a closer look at the continental shelves.

Sensors on seals in Antarctica

According to a report by The Independent, this method of using a sensor on seals would replace the need to use boats to navigate the harsh environments of Antarctica.

In this regard, an October study entitled “Coastal intrusion of ocean surface waters alters physical and biological structures of the ocean on the Antarctic continental shelf during winter: observations of instrumented seals” on limnology and oceanography explained how this technique works.

By connecting the data collection equipment to the heads of the seals, researchers could begin to collect information such as temperature, depth (CTD) and conductivity of the water.

Related article: NASA Collects Seal Data to Study the Depths of the Antarctic Ocean

What are Continental Shelves

Science Blog explains that a continental shelf in Antarctica serves as a “biologically productive region” formed from nutrients from an ice shelf, ocean, and sea ice.

The ice-floe water exchanges that typically thrive in warm Antarctic waters could change depending on the current season. They would be useful for balancing organic production in the regions of the continent.

Scientists are struggling to identify the usual areas that ships fear going to because they are limited by the clogged shelves. The report wrote that ice floes are covering them. As a result, experts have not been able to fully understand what seasonal variations mean.

How researchers record data using seals

According to Nobuo Kokubun, the lead author of the research, previous researchers tackled the attachment of sensors to Weddel seals and southern elephant seals.

The assistant professor of the National Polar Research Institute of Japan added that the team observed notable processes occurring in Antarctic waters through these deep diving animals.

For the data logging, the researchers used glue to connect the CTD satellite relay equipment to the heads of the eight (8) Weddel seals. This old study took place between March and September 2017.

The team succeeded in recognizing the seal hunting habits, as well as the seasonal changes that occurred in the Antarctic Ocean around this time.

The Rubik’s Cube-sized recorder has been of great help to scientists. This helped them learn more about the salinity of water during the war and low water during the winter. In addition, they found that as the season progresses, the water in warm regions becomes much deeper.

The researchers concluded that the combination of oceanographic and meteorological modeling paved the way for them to understand the impact of the easterly wind on warm surface waters.

While the research already looks promising to scientists, several methods have yet to be implemented to understand why deep and surface waters enter the shelf and later invade “local” waters.

Researchers look forward to using seals in data conservation in the future to observe the response of the Antarctic ecosystem to rapid climate change.

The next study will include calculating the amount of water and prey moving to the shelves.

Meanwhile, Tech Times reported that a “Wall-E” robot acts like a farmer who plants seeds in the ground. The aim of the A’seedbot is to search for fertile areas in the desert.

Elsewhere, Elon Musk announced his plans for the multiplanetary venture with SpaceX and the spacecraft’s orbital flight.

Also read: [VIRAL] These 3 strange creatures under the deepest parts of Antarctica shock and amaze scientists

This article is the property of Tech Times

Written by Joseph Henry

2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


About Opal Jones

Check Also

Scripps Oceanography’s Port Point Loma continues the tradition of being at the forefront of research at sea

For decades, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in La Jolla has …