Special from Kaitlin Macdonald:
Our 2016 field season has concluded and our team has made it back to Christchurch. We had a very successful season full of new and exciting changes from my previous seasons on the ice. The sea ice edge was approximately 50 miles from our sea ice camp, much further than previous years. While the sea ice edge may have been much further than usual our team still spotted three different bird species, crabeater seals, both emperor and Adélie penguins in the study area. Our crew did an impressive amount of work this season.
The 2016 field season statistics:
- 131 pups were enrolled in our mass study
- The combined weight of seal pups weighed over the course of the season was 46,898 lbs.
- Our crew tagged 493 pups born into the Erebus Bay study area
- We obtained records of time spent in water from birth to end of lactation for 112 pups
- We carried out 6 surveys of our study area with a maximum of 933 tagged individuals counted during any one survey
- The crew obtained mass assessment photographs for 57 individual mothers
- We tagged 5 new pups at White Island
We were lucky to finish out the field season with PI Jay Rotella who joined us for our last few weeks weighing pups, photographing mothers and tagging adults. I am proud of the work we accomplished this season and our incredible crew!
- Kaitlin Macdonald