Weddell seals may look round and ungainly on land, but these sleek creatures can swim up to 90 minutes without resurfacing for air - and this underwater longevity is helping scientists unlock the mysteries of the changing Antarctic.
The seals have the most southern range of any mammal, and they're also extremely docile, which allows scientists to glue tracking devices to their heads without stress on either party.
As the Southern Ocean warms, ice melts and the salinity and density of the water decreases. Thanks to the Weddell seals, scientists are beginning to understand what this might mean.
"They're really giving us a window into the Southern Ocean in winter in a way that we haven't been able to see before," said one scientist.
- Dolphins and Whales Squeal like Children When They’re Happy, Study Says Posted Thu, August 21, 2014
- Seaweed Spotlight: A Rare Glimpse into Beautiful Ocean Kelp Forests (Photos) Posted Mon, August 25, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Rare Blue Lobster Caught in Maine, Cephalopod Skin Providing Groundwork for New Technology, and More Posted Wed, August 27, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Vaquita Porpoise Needs Swift Protection, Atlantic Ocean behind Global Warming Slow Down, and More Posted Fri, August 22, 2014
- Oceana Magazine: Tuna in Trouble Posted Mon, August 25, 2014