Fieldwork: ICE Ringed seal
Fieldwork for the ICE Ringed seals project was conducted in the summers of 2010, 2011 and 2012. With the Colin Archer Meridian serving as their base and home, a small group of scientists took to the waters off Svalbard. Here, they captured and tagged seals with the most advanced satellite transmitter tags for studying marine mammals ever developed. During each field season readers were invited to follow the fieldwork through these field reports.
Season 3: July–August 2012
The third and final season's fieldwork was conducted in Nordaustlandet and Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. 18 satellite transmitter tags were deployed. We also had some whale encounters, and even got to see an old friend, who had grown even fatter since last year.
We are soon on our way south toward Longyearbyen, weather permitting, at the end of a successful expedition, which is the last field work for this project.
The ICE Ringed seals project is back in Svalbard for a third and final season of tagging seals with satellite transmitters. 3 weeks in, the scientists have now completed fhe first phase of the 2012 fieldwork.
Season 2: July–August 2011
For our second fieldwork season, we had planned to go up into the Rijpfjorden area, but we were stopped by vast amounts of drift ice from the high north. Istead, we worked on the west coast of Spitsbergen, concentrating around the Kongsfjorden–Krossfjorden area, near Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. All satellite tags were deployed successfully, and are now out operating; 11 on ringed seals and 5 on bearded seals.
A lot of this year’s seals seem to be staying close to the front of glaciers. These areas seem to be rich in food, and all of the animals we captured this season were in fantastic condition – which means FAT for seals. At the same time it raises a concern: the glaciers are retracting, melting with increasing speed under climate warming. When the glaciers are reduced to the point where they do not meet the sea, their food supply value will be lost.
Scientists have spent some of their summer weeks in Svalbard, tagging ringed seals and bearded seals with satellite transmitters. Read about their experiences, and early results.
Ringed seals and bearded seals are being equipped with advanced satellite transmitters, which will provide scientists with detailed information about the life of the seals and how they adapt to climate change.
Season 1: July–August 2010
The first season's fieldwork was conducted in Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. Things went very well, despite being harassed by polar bears, as well as shifting weather and ice conditions. At the end of the expedition we had deployed 9 satellite transmitter tags.
Nine ringed seals are now swimming around with brand new, advanced satellite transmitters. One is already at 84 degrees North, far into the ice of the Arctic Ocean.
A ringed seal has for the first time been equipped with a new advanced satellite tag, in northern Svalbard.
In the ICE Ecosystems’ ringed seal project we will take a closer look at the ringed seals in Svalbard.