Start date:
December 2013
End date:
January 2014
Explorers Cove, Hobbs Glacier, Howard Glacier, Hughes Glacier, Lake Brownworth, Marble Point, Marshall Valley, Miers Valley, Mummy Pond, Nussbaum Reigel, Suess Glacier
Principle Investigator:
Paul Koch
University of California, Santa Cruz
This project will investigate the response of seals in the Ross Sea to climate change over the past several thousand years. This work follows on the PI’s recent southern elephant seals project and involves examining the population structure and paleoecology of seal groups in the Ross Sea, past
and present. The target species are southern elephant, crabeater, Weddell, and leopard seals, each of which has specific climate, diet, and habitat preferences. Researchers will use genetic, isotopic, and chronologic data to develop an integrated understanding of the response of these mammals to major climate cooling that occurred in the Holocene beginning about a thousand years ago. Specific research objectives include locating, sampling, and identifying mummified seal remains in the Dry Valleys region (including coastal Royal Society Range, the Victoria Land Coast, and parts of the Convoy Range). Samples will be returned to the US for ancient DNA, isotopic, and radiocarbon analyses.