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Data Collecting by Seals and Sea Lions To Be Subject of Public CCPO Presentation

Luis Huckstadt, a California scientist working on a project that utilizes elephant seals and sea lions as ocean sensors, will present a fall seminar at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, at Old Dominion University's Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography (CCPO).

The seminar, which will be in Room 3200 of Innovation Research Park Building 1 in University Village, is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to come at 3 p.m. for refreshments.

Huckstadt's topic is "Variability in Foraging Strategies of Southern Elephant Seals from the Western Antarctic Peninsula." He is part of the research group of Dan Costa, a scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who is a pioneer in the practice of fitting elephant seals and sea lions with sensing devices and using them to gather data about the oceans.

The deep-diving, wide-ranging animals can more thoroughly take measurements in the deep oceans than research vessels and instruments designed to collect oceanographic data. Measurements are taken of such things as salinity and temperature through the water column and when the animals surface they can transmit data and report positions via satellite communications.

Costa has collaborated in this research with two ODU professors of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences, John Klinck, the CCPO director, and Eileen Hofmann.

Huckstadt, a Ph.D. student at UC Santa Cruz, is working with Costa on a National Science Foundation project that extends the use of these animals equipped with sensing devices in order to reveal habitat use and foraging behavior of seals along the western Antarctic Peninsula.

More information on this research is at http://bio.research.ucsu.edu/people/costa. For more information about Huckstadt's visit or the seminar series, contact Hofmann at hofmann@ccpo.odu.edu.

This article was posted on: September 9, 2009

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