Scientists Are Using Seals to Map Climate Change
They’re going under the radar. Antarctica’s apex predator, the elephant seal, can dive to depths of nearly a mile and a half — and is more mobile than ship-deployed monitors tracking the rate at which Antarctica’s ice shelves are melting. A team of scientists from the University of Tasmania is taking advantage of their flippered research assistants, attaching monitoring devices to 20-30 seals. After two years of observation, they say, they’ve determined that Antarctic melt is diluting the continent’s heavy, cold layer of ”bottom water,” which could disrupt ocean circulation worldwide.