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Tagged Elephant Seal

Elephant seals on South Georgia have had computerised tags stuck to their heads — and have been collecting remarkable new information on conditions in the Southern Ocean.

The seals cover thousands of km and dive down to 2000m — when they surface, the data is sent to scientists in Scotland via satellite.

“These animals are opening an interesting new window on the ocean,” said Mike Fedak, from the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), Gatty Marine Laboratory, University of St Andrews. “They can go to places in the ocean that we very often can’t go to, and can sample parts of the ocean where we can’t afford to or logistically are not able to.”
The scientists stress the animals are not bothered by the data loggers carried on their heads. The boxes are attached with an epoxy glue and simply fall off after about a year during the moulting season.