Elephant seals are in it deep due to climate change … deep in the
ocean, that is. Elephant seals from Marion Island in the southwest
Indian Ocean are swimming farther beneath the surface as their prey also
moves into cooler, deeper waters.
“This prey is moving down to greater depths, presumably due to the
increasing water temperatures, and this is forcing the seals to follow
them,” explained Horst Bornemann from the Alfred Wegener Institute, in a
Bornemann and colleagues from the Mammal Research Institute fit more than 30 southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina)
with satellite transmitters. The transmitters are glued like beanies to
the seals’ heads. They measure dive depth, water temperature, and
salinity on every dive, then beam that information to the marine
biologists via satellite.
The results show that the seals dive deeper in warmer water.