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Elephant seals wore trackers to aid Antarctic study

Antarctic study

The impact of global warming on the planet has led scientists to adopt alternative ways to study places that are inaccessible with boats and sophisticated scientific equipment. A team of researchers have used arctic seals to aid their Antarctic study. Elephant seals wore trackers so that scientists could monitor their underwater activity.

Antarctic study and climate change

The team of researchers from University of Tasmania, Australia, aimed to study the impact of melting ice shelves in East Antartica’s Prydz Bay. The focus of this research was bottom water which is crucial to the change in climate conditions all across the earth. The elephant seals wore trackers that helped scientist monitor their activity from 2011 to 2013.

The researchers gathered data from around 20 seals that inhabited the Prydz Bay during March to October, which is the coldest time of the year in the Antarctic.

Through careful monitoring of the seals, researchers were able to gather sufficient amount of data to evaluate the condition of bottom water in the region. As predicted by scientists, the loss of ice sheets in the region has been linked to an increase in temperature of the oceans. The loss is both accelerated and irreversible posing a major threat to the climate conditions across the globe.

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The data evaluated by the scientists helped in the study of dense shelf water formation in the Prydz Bay. It also affirmed the speculation of being the fourth bottom water producer in the region.

Previous studies on Antarctic

In previous studies, researchers tried studying Antarctic bottom water production through a single seal but the study did not reveal sufficient data to draw a solid conclusion from. The results of the new study conducted by the Univeristy of Tasmania were revealed in the journal Nature Communications as reported by ABC.

Researchers aim to understand the complexity of the bottom water system in the future.

Image Credit: eandt.theiet.org