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The marine animals living in the open ocean, and especially in the Southern Ocean, are among the ones which knowledge benefitted the most from Argos wildlife tracking. We discovered a lot about Southern Elephant seals, among those – depths of dive, paths followed, etc., all things completely unknown previously and about their environment and the way it affects their behaviour. Tracking continues, for a better knowledge of the seals, and also since they are irreplaceable divers to places we need to measure more often.

Animation of the tracks of the elephant seals equipped by IMOS early 2018 (credits Xavier Hoener, IMOS)

Southern Elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) are living around Antarctica (a different species lives in the North Pacific), breeding on the islands there like Kerguelen or Macquarie Island. Before the advent of Argos PTTs and of the clever sensors measuring things like temperature, pressure etc., nobody had the slightest idea that those animals are among the recordcreatures of different disciplines: they dive at about 1500 m (the deepest dives can be down past 2000 m) while holding their breath for 30 min (the longest known breath hold is 120 min); they are also making long trips horizontally – maybe not the 20,000 leagues of the novel, but more than 6000 km in less than six months, swimming and diving all the way.

Elephant seal with an Argos tag (photo C. Guinet CNRS/CEBC)

Elephant seals from Kerguelen search their food in two main foraging areas: in the subAntarctic and Antarctic waters. Females forage most of the time far in the open ocean, while subadult and adult males search their food over the Kerguelen and the Antarctic plateaus.

artist view of an elephant seal by the youngest (5-6 years old), projected while presenting the species during the Argonautica annual meeting
Artist view of an elephant seal by the youngest (5-6 years old), projected while presenting the species during the Argonautica annual meeting

Their travels and the spread of their tracks (from -10° to 100°E this year – for two different individuals), as well as their frequent and deep dives gave the idea to marine biologists to use that species to collect oceanographic data while studying their at-sea ecology. Temperature and salinity data are added to physical oceanographic databases in conjunction with the Argo floats. So they are complementing the Argo float array, in areas where not so many instruments are launched in particular South of 60 degrees South, a region especially important for regulating global climate, where there are almost no hydrographic observations

Some of those elephant seals, either from Clive McMahon (IMOS, Australia) or from Christophe Guinet (CEBC, France)’s teams were followed this year (and previous years) within the French Space Agency educational project Argonautica (description of this project here, the maps and tracks in both English and French).

 

References

Photo featured : Elephant seal with an Argos tag (photo C. McMahon, IMOS/U. Sydney)

éléphant de mer avec une balise Argos (photo C. McMahon, IMOS/U. Sydney)

11.06.2018 Animal tracking applications Elephant seals diving for science

The marine animals living in the open ocean, and especially in the Southern Ocean, are among the ones which knowledge benefitted the most from Argos wildlife tracking. We discovered a lot about Southern Elephant seals, among those – depths of dive, paths followed, etc., all things completely unknown previously and…
Arctic fox (Credits A. Sokolov)

29.05.2018 Animal tracking applications Siberian Arctic fox on the move

Nowadays Arctic wildlife is often endangered by climate changes and human activities, and they are not always very well known. The arctic fox is a small animal, white in Winter, living around the Arctic circle. In Siberia it has been little studied for now, but miniaturization progresses make it possible…
Loggerhead turtle equipped with a satellite tag. Source: Miquel Gomila/SOCIB

15.05.2018 Animal tracking applications Tweeting Mediterranean Loggerhead turtles as oceanographers

Loggerhead turtle around Balearic Islands are equipped with Argos satellite tracking tags. Their data are used as oceanographic data source, and they also can be followed in real-time on Twitter, as a mean of raising awareness on the threats to this wildlife species and the way of helping protecting them.
EO4 Wildlife

04.05.2018 Animal tracking applications EO4 wildlife – Platform for wildlife monitoring integrating Copernicus and Argos data

In November 2017, a new version of the EO4wildlife platform was released to all partners. This version provide a wide new set of features such as access to new datasets, integration of new processing services, improvements on platform usability and on interoperability issues… On topic of metocean data, the ambition…

02.05.2018 Animal tracking applications How do lesser spotted eagles learn their migration routes?

Argos wildlife tracking helps to understand the best conditions for young lesser spotted eagles to survive their first migration. Using solar-powered tags, over 100 birds of different birth location and age have been followed since 2004 during their trip to Africa, to monitor the effects of translocating young birds to…
ActInSpace 2018

17.04.2018 Flash news Argos’ challenges for ActInSpace 2018

ActInSpace is an innovation contest (Hackathon) initiated by the French Space Agency (CNES) uniting over 60 cities across 5 continents. This international event aims to bring together entrepreneurs, students, developers, creatives… For 24 hours, teams will work on challenges proposed by various companies, with the support of business…
Return to sea of a tagged porbeagle with argos satellite

17.04.2018 Animal tracking applications Argos satellite system helps track porbeagle sharks

Porbeagle shark is a wildlife species which migrates long distances. Monitoring their movements is important to help protect them. Since they are permanently subaquatic, they are located using Argos pop-up satellite archival tags. The migration of nine porbeagle sharks have been monitored for several months and up to one year…
Green Sea Turtle

04.04.2018 Animal tracking applications Endangered sea turtle species in Papua New Guinea

One of our Argos users recently deployed the first satellite tagged, hard shelled turtles (greens and hawksbills) in Papua New Guinea.  The Argos satellite tags will help to understand the movement of one of the world’s oldest creatures and will play an important role in the conservation of endangered…

10.04.2018 Animal tracking applications Contribution of space technologies for livestock and food security

As part of the ESA program named ARTES 20/Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP), and with the support of the CNES, CLS is working on a new space application for animal tracking in the field of livestock management, disease reduction and sustainability of ecosystem services. This system is…

05.04.2018 Flash news ARGOS news on Facebook

We invite you to visit our Facebook page to not miss any news related to ARGOS. We frequently post news, and other contents related to our activities. Click on the image to access our page      …