Growing Up on Ice
Weddell seal pups begin their lives on the sea ice with a small body size and almost no blubber. They are born with relatively low oxygen stores and must develop their diving capacity and skills. They rely entirely on the energy from their mother’s milk, both to stay warm and to become good divers. With only so much energy available, they have to find the balance that will allow them to not only survive out on the ice but also develop the ability to get their own food beneath the ice. What does it take for a Weddell seal pup to survive and successfully make the transition between two extreme environments – above and below the Antarctic sea ice – in only a matter of weeks? To answer this, we are venturing to Antarctica to study the development of thermoregulation and diving in Weddell seals.
Learn more about this project at https://icyseals.com