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Ringed Seal Photo Stream Team Members Gallery Videos
Researchers from the AFSC National Marine Mammal Laboratory’s Polar Ecosystems Program spent 29 days (13 May- 11 June 2009) working to improve our understanding of the ecology, distribution, and abundance of seals in the Bering Sea. Bearded, spotted, ringed, and ribbon seals, often referred to collectively as “ice seals,” are seasonally ice-associated species that may be vulnerable to climate change through loss of sea ice. The ice seals found in the Bering Sea during spring have rarely been studied, and there are no current estimates of abundance or comprehensive descriptions of their distribution and habitat use. Further, the ice seals also are critical to the nutritional and cultural sustainability of Alaska Native communities along the Bering Sea coast. A fundamental understanding of these seals’ abundance, distribution, and foraging ecology is essential for NOAA to meet its Protected Resources mandates.

This research cruise on board the NOAA ship McArthur II focused on two key components:

  • Locate, capture, sample, and apply satellite-linked tags to ribbon and spotted seals in the marginal ice zone of the Bering Sea, and
  • Evaluate the utility of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) technology to improve ice seal abundance and distribution estimates by flying sensor test flights and limited line transect surveys with an Insight A-20 UAS.

Cruise Videos Here

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Josh London
Josh London
2009-06-06 01:01:13
61 21.1564
174 36.8053

Dashing for the Edge

Dashing for the Edge

An adult male ribbon seal dashes for the edge of the ice floe after release. Ribbon seals are amazingly fast for a phocid. They use their fore-flippers to propel themselves across the ice.

Josh London
Josh London
2009-06-06 01:00:30
61 21.1498
174 36.7938

Pausing After Release

Pausing After Release

An adult male ribbon seal, just released pauses before dashing to the water.

Josh London
Josh London
2009-06-06 00:44:24
61 21.0276
174 36.5167

Attaching Tag to Male Ribbon Seal

Attaching Tag to Male Ribbon Seal

Shawn Dahle attaches a satellite tag to the head of an adult male ribbon seal under the eye of Chief Scientist, Michael Cameron. Gavin Brady helps control the animal and Tracey Goldstein monitors the heart rate and breathing. John Jansen captures a few photos of the tag placement.

Shawn Dahle
Shawn Dahle
2009-06-04 23:22:07
61 52.8490
174 41.8680

Tagged ribbon seal pup

Tagged ribbon seal pup

A ribbon seal pup moves across an ice floe after being fitted with a back-mounted satellite tag.

Shawn Dahle
Shawn Dahle
2009-06-04 04:22:26
61 54.2673
174 34.5352

Head Tag on Male Ribbon Seal

Head Tag on Male Ribbon Seal

A subadult male ribbon seal poses for a picture after being fitted with a head-mounted satellite tag.

Josh London
Josh London
2009-06-03 23:52:14
61 54.1032
174 32.7126

Erin at the Helm

Erin at the Helm

Erin Moreland drives our inflatable boat away from the NOAA Ship McArthur II in search of seals

Josh London
Josh London
2009-06-01 21:19:18
60 46.5608
171 3.5521

UAS Catapult Launch

UAS Catapult Launch

Safety crews watch on as the UAS is catapulted from the NOAA ship McArthur II.

J.K. Jansen
J.K. Jansen
2009-06-01 21:19:15
60 46.5608
171 3.5521

UAS Launch

UAS Launch

UAS catapulted from the NOAA ship McArthur II.

   
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