Salinity sensors on seals: use of marine predators to carry CTD dataloggers

Diving marine predators have been used to collect data on ocean temperature, but salinity measurements have not previously been incorporated into predator-borne data loggers. Here we present data on initial calibration and field trials of a new conductivity, temperature and depth (CTD) data logger used alongside a satellite-positioning transmitter to provide three-dimensional oceanographic information. This provides CTD data analogous to that collected by a ship-deployed undulating oceanographic recorder. Calibration tests of these units showed a near-field effect caused by the proximity of material to the tag, but demonstrate that the resulting data offset can be removed by post hoc calibration. Field tests of the system were conducted on 16 female Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) at Bird Island, South Georgia. These results matched those found by standard ship-based survey techniques, but suggest temporal variability in the structure and location of the two water masses found to the north of South Georgia. Overall, this initial proof-of-concept work is encouraging; future refinement of this technique is likely to provide an additional data source for both oceanographers and biologists.


Publication status:
Authors: Hooker, Sascha K., Boyd, Ian L.

1 January, 2003
Deep Sea Research I / 50
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