Female elephant seals are monitoring dissolved oxygen in the ocean.
Diving almost continuously at great depth during most of the year, and covering large distance through remote areas of the Southern Ocean, Kerguelen elephant seals have proved to be a great alternative to other instruments for monitoring the oceans. The seal-derived measurements of oceanic dissolved oxygen give better results than other methods, according to new research.
The current decline in dissolved oxygen concentration within the oceans indicates the effect of climate change on the sea. However the impact of its declining on marine life and ecosystems’ health is still quite unclear because of the difficulty in obtaining data, especially in remote areas like the Southern Ocean. French scientists are therefore using Southern elephant seals to monitor oxygen, temperature and salinity.
The scientists – Bailleul, Vacquie-Garcia and Guinet – attached sensors to five elephant seals. These seals delivered essential information about the water properties and reinforced the relationship between marine ecology and oceanography.
More at http://news.scubatravel.co.uk/elephant-seals-measure-oxygen-content-of-ocean.html