TOKYO, March 1 – A seal sporting a helmet with an antenna would possibly look uncommon, however eight Weddell seals, every with a 580g monitoring machine on their heads, have been serving to Japanese researchers survey the waters below the thick ice sheet in Antarctica.
Tapped for a analysis mission between March and November 2017 – winter in Antarctica – these seals have been outfitted with the head-mounted conductivity, temperature and depth sensor, which permits scientists to gather statement knowledge, comparable to water temperatures and salt ranges, in areas with extraordinarily harsh environmental situations.
Venture chief Nobuo Kokubun stated such analysis helps scientists hint the animals’ behavioral patterns and ecology.
“Throughout the summer time, we will go to Antarctica on icebreakers to conduct precise analysis actions, in order that we will accumulate knowledge there. However throughout the winter, such issues can’t be finished in so many locations,” Kokubun stated throughout an interview with Reuters on Friday.
“Nonetheless, even in such a scenario, many animals comparable to seals live within the space of Antarctica, so I assumed we must always have them accumulate the information,” Kokubun added.
The info efficiently gathered from seven seals confirmed certainly one of them had traveled so far as 633km (393 miles) from the coast of Japan’s Showa Station in Antarctica, whereas one other had descended to a depth of 700m (2,297 ft).
Kokubun stated the scientists additionally discovered from the information that heat seawater from the higher layer within the open sea reached Antarctica from March by winter that 12 months. The water flowed under the ice, bringing in sea creatures like Antarctic krill, a significant meals supply for seals.
Aiming to look at additional the impression of world warming on Antarctic coastal areas, Kokubun subsequent hopes to make the machine sufficiently small to suit on different animals on the South Pole comparable to penguins.
“The benefit with penguins is that they arrive again to the identical place and we will accumulate the information from them instantly. Additionally, we will use the gadgets on numerous penguins to allow them to cowl a large space,” he stated.