The Antarctica research field team is still without internet at their remote sea ice camp in Erebus Bay. So we'll fill in some details about their current work in the numerous Weddell seal pupping colonies around the frozen bay. Here's a 360 VR video giving viewers a sense of the remoteness of the area. This 360 VR prototype from last season is our 1st prototype of 360 VR on the ice. You'll need a laptop or computer to view as YouTube does not yet support 360 VR embedded video on mobile devices:
We look forward to more 360 VR videos from this season, including documentary-style 360 VR. We're testing VR camera rigs and cameras to get the best VR footage possible in these cold, sometimes very windy conditions.
The work of the research team at this point consists of traveling to all the Weddell pupping colonies to tag all the new puppies, weigh a selection of pups with known age moms, and weigh some of those moms after they give birth. The pups will be weighed a day or two after birth, then again at the mid-nursing period, and finally near the end of the nursing period at around 35 days. Most pups will wean at around 45 days, when their moms leave them on their own to fend for themselves. Here's a video on these amazing animals, followed by videos on the population study's work with the seals:
The Weddell population project is also studying the relationship between how much time the pups spend in the water and pup survival to adulthood and reproduction. This aspect of the study is a great example of how science questions arise, and the development of creative methods for finding answers!
We look forward to the sea ice camp getting its internet connection established, and the research field team again sending updates and imaging from the sea ice!
- Mary Lynn Price