Showing posts from December, 2010

A Green Christmas

I've never experienced such contrasts.  For two and a half months, our crew made Antarctica home, or at least as home as Antarctica would let us.  The sea ice, where we worked, lived, and slept, became as familiar to us as my backyard in Idaho.  The uninhibited white stretched before us everyday, as we went about our research amidst the groaning seals.  We became accustomed to the cold temperatures (but did not complain when conditions got "tropical" by the end of the season).  The immense Mt Erebus, steamingly eyeing us from above, although always awe-inspiring, became part of the backdrop.  The things that were so striking and surprising when we first arrived, became part of the daily routine.  It's as if we've only ever known daylight to be constant for 24 hours.  To become comfortable in a place, is to make it home, at least for the vagabond biologist, and that's what the field camp at Big Razorback Island in Antarctica became.

But suddenly, our crew foun…

Skua Tug O War

Can anyone guess what they are using as the "rope"?

Seal Pup Surprise

At the outset of my arrival in Antarctica, I intended to update my blog regularly in such a way that my readers could gain a better sense of the seal research we are doing and of the on-the-ice lifestyle.  I have failed miserably(!)...however, I hope that what was seen here was eye-opening, interesting, and/or entertaining.

As of now, our crew has 3 more days in Antarctica.  We fly from McMurdo to Christchurch, NZ on Dec 15, and thus will end the 2010 Weddell seal field season.  However, I intend to keep updating my blog with some of the season's highlights and excitements as time goes on.  It is also worth it to keep an eye on (or check out if you haven't already) Mary Lynn Price's Weddell Seal Science website, although it will remain dormant for a few weeks to come as she resumes video editing in a month or so.  Or you can just check back here for updates on that.

For now, I will treat you to another pup video.  This taken at Turtle Rock two days ago.  Most of the momm…

Seals by Air

Most of our research is accomplished by snowmobile every day, but occasionally, we have the opportunity to work from the sky.  This video was captured during two helicopter flights, one to find any seals hidden behind ice pressure ridges or large ice masses that we missed in our first tagging efforts, and another to find any tagged seals outside of our study area (at Tera Nova Bay) to assess the amount of emigration out of the study population.  The resulting video is nothing special, in fact, it is very poorly done, as I am just learning the ropes of video editing (using Adobe Premiere Elements 9) and don't have a lot of time on my hands (apparently, editing video can take a very, very long time, at least in my case!).  I provide no distinction during the video between the two flights, but first half is in an A-Star helicopter and the second half is in a Bell helicopter.

The tiny black dots on the edges of the islands and cracks are seals!!
To make the video BIGGER, click on it AG…