SFOS images
SFOS imagesHooded seals with CTD tags (photo: Kit Kovacs & Christian Lydersen)

News Archive




May 26, 2008

ArcOD's Rolf Gradinger is an expert in Sea Ice Communities, studying the tiny animals that actually live inside the ice and those that live on the bottom of the ice sheets. Exploratorium chats with Rolf about his current work, drilling ice cores just off Barrow, and looking for some of the world's most unique fauna.

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March 2008

The 2008 IPY field season is in full swing. Activities in the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Cluster have begun with tagging seals as part of the MEOP project (Marine Mammal Exploration of the Oceans – from Pole to Pole)

Project leader Kit Kovacs from the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromso reports from the field:

March 21, 2008

R/V Lance headed south from 73 57 N 013 31 W on the 19th towards the West Ice. The first day of travel was smooth sailing....wonderful seas and clear conditions. The 20th brought us full storm conditions with force that had us making progress at a rate of under 2 knots into the wind despite almost full-steaming. For mealtimes we turned our backside to the waves so that folks could keep their chairs close to the table...at least some of the time. But we made it into the ice yesterday and found our first hoods.

The pack is extremely broken and the floes are very small -- which might make working "interesting" in cases where the mother is defending her pup...and more interesting yet if we have a male attending. We have not found a "herd", but are picking up sightings of scattered individuals. We have yet to see an attending male, though we have seen adult males in the water. The helicopter was up yesterday (with the polar bear team) and they sighted only three mother-pup pairs in their travels - so the hoods might be dispersed this year, similar to 2007. They will fly again when possible....though they are "grounded" onboard at the moment....so we are searching from Lance.

At the end of yesterdays efforts, two weaned bluebacks (hooded seal pups) now carry CTD tags glued to the fur on their backs. The tags will remain with them until their first moult 15 or 16 months from now.

Today is -16 C and the wind is blowing 35 knots with gusts much higher...so it will be a chilly one out there today.

March 26, 2008

Under pink-blue skies, with a balmy -15oC (and wonderful low breezes) – the last MEOP CTD-tags went onto hooded seals yesterday! All adults are now reporting oceanography data very nicely and some of the pups have started their aquatic lives as well.

We will remain in the West Ice today, doing the final toxicology pairs – and give the polar bear team one more day in the southern end of East Greenland --- but, once the helicopter is back on board Lance tonight we will start heading north to resume our search for bowhead whales.

More information on MEOP and other Arctic Marine Biodiversity Cluster projects

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