What does it mean to be different if you're a Weddell seal in Antarctica? Our new project video explores individual variation in Weddell seals studied by the Weddell population project research team, and what such individual variation might mean for the future of this southernmost mammal living in the most pristine marine environment on Earth.
Featured in this video are interviews on location in Erebus Bay, Antarctica with ecologists Jay Rotella, Bob Garrott, Thierry Chambert, and Jesse DeVoe on the Weddell population project. The video also showcases some truly spectacular underwater footage by Henry Kaiser, courtesy of the Project B-470 Weddell research team, and lots of Weddell puppies and moms filmed by myself and other members of the Project B-009 Weddell population study research team.
This new project video is made possible with funding and support from the National Science Foundation, and the assistance of the United States Antarctic Program. Produced in association with Montana State University. More information on the project, the seals, and the researchers at http://WeddellSealScience.com .
Over the years the Weddell project has published a number of scientific papers on various aspects of individual variation in Weddell seals. Among the most recent project publications is a fascinating paper on whether frequency of pupping--how many pups a Weddell seal mom has over her lifetime--is a fixed or real characteristic of these seals, as opposed to a chance, or random, occurance. Researchers found that this life history characteristic involves a fixed trait and, interestingly, one that continues to be expressed in harsh environmental conditions.