The Weddell seal population study field season in Antarctica has a lot of moving parts as it gets underway. First, there's additional field training for the field team. There's sea ice safety training, environmental training, and snowmobile basics, to name a few courses, all provided by the United States Antarctica Program (USAP).
Then there's gathering supplies for the remote sea ice camp where the team will be living during the Antarctica field season. The "food pull" is particularly important, where team members secure food for the sea ice camp. And there's checking out communication equipment so the field team can communicate with others on McMurdo Station. (We'll post a separate blog entry on Ross Island and McMurdo Station later this season.) This all culminates in the small wood and metal fish huts that make up the remote camp being pulled into place on the sea ice of Erebus Bay by a ice tractor, and carefully positioned to better withstand the strong winds that will occur frequently on the frozen surface of Erebus Bay.
Here's a new video edited from video footage and photos by Eric Boyd and Terrill Paterson of the 2015 field team after they arrived on the ice and began traveling over the sea ice in the Erebus Bay study area. The soundtrack to this video was composed by Steve Perez using hydrophone recordings of Weddell seal vocalizations obtained under NMFS Permits 1032-1917 and 17236 in a previous season.
Hope you enjoy this fun short video!
Weddell seals have a large repertoire of vocalizations, including chugs, chirps, trills, and weird other-worldly sounds like something from another planet. They can make these sounds underwater or on top of the ice. We have more on Weddell seal vocalizations in our web portal's multimedia audio section, including Weddell seal ring-tones!
You can also check out more of our videos in the multimedia section of our web portal, WeddellSealScience.com.