The 2013 Weddell seal pupping season is now coming to an end. The Erebus Bay sea ice is melting and breaking up as the pups are left to fend for themselves. They will soon head out into the Ross Sea for the Antarctic summer to start their new lives, and will face difficult times ahead as they hunt for food and try to avoid their predators, Orcas and leopard seals. The Weddell population project field research team has now flown off the ice to Christchurch, New Zealand, and will be heading on to various holiday destinations.
As this holiday season approaches, our new Weddell seal project video that tells the story of "What It Means to Be Different If You're a Weddell Seal" is now available as a high definition video free at iTunes through the featured podcast, DiveFilm HD Video. The beautiful photo of Weddell pups in the iTunes Podcast Home Page marquee above is by Montana State University graduate student and Weddell project field team alumnus Jesse DeVoe, obtained under NMFS Permit No. 17236. (Thank you, Jesse!)
This new 12 minute high definition video also has been released in broadcast quality via TelVue Connect on the Roku channel, "The Knowledge Network." This great new Roku channel offers science-themed videos from sources associated with the National Science Foundation.
Featured in the video is some of the most amazing footage ever of Weddell seal pups underwater, filmed by renowned musician, Antarctic diver and videographer Henry Kaiser, courtesy Project B-470 obtained under NMFS Permit No. 15478 and ACA 2003-12. (Thank you, B-470 and HK!) The video also features some of the best of B-009's Weddell project imaging, including remarkable footage of a Weddell seal birth, and numerous shots of engaging Weddell pup and mom interaction, obtained under NMFS Permit Nos. 1032-1917 and 17236.
Interviews on the ice with Montana State University Weddell project ecologists Drs. Jay Rotella, Bob Garrott, Thierry Chambert, and MSU graduate student Jesse DeVoe help tell the story of what being different means to the lives and future of these extraordinary Antarctic marine mammals living in the most pristine marine environment remaining on Earth.
Thank you to all who helped make this video possible, the entire 2013 Weddell project research field team for the work they've done to continue the study, and to the good folks at NSF and iTunes for helping to get word out about the vital work of this Antarctica Weddell seal population project.