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Project List

elephant seal

IPY Activity #77

Marine Mammal Exploration of the Oceans – Pole to Pole (MEOP)

Simon the seal

Project web site, Related site

Activity leader
Kit Kovacs, Norwegian Polar Institute, Polar Environmental Centre

Project goals
MEOP will deploy state-of-the-art animal-borne CTD (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) tags on strategically chosen, deep-diving marine mammal species to explore their current movement patterns, behaviour and habitat utilization in Polar Regions. Deployments will take place on the deepest diving seals in the Arctic and Antarctic – hooded seals in the north and elephant seals in the south. To maximise ice-covered water coverage, deployments will also take place on Weddell seals and crabeater seals. Simultaneous with the sampling of ecological data sets on these top predators, the animals will themselves (via the equipment they carry) collect a vast, high-precision oceanographic data set from difficult areas to access in Polar Seas at the fringes of the North and South Atlantic and the South Pacific that are strategically important to climate and ocean modelling. Co-operation between programmes within IPY will provide MEOP with comprehensive, synoptic oceanographic coverage that will allow us to quantify factors determining habitat selection by key polar marine mammal species. In turn, our ocean data sets will contribute significantly to modelling ocean circulation patterns and serve as input to advanced climate models.

Geographic focus
Arctic, North Atlantic, and Southern Oceans

Taxonomic focus
Marine mammals

Countries involved in activity
Norway (Lead), Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Greenland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, USA

Expedition dates and vessels
Ship and helicopter, 03/07 to 08/07, 11/07 to 11/08

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