Nicole Marie Teutschel at Long Marine Lab, Santa Cruz, CA--As adult northern elephant seals are at sea, juveniles dominate the beaches at Año Nuevo. Most TOPP E Seal research focuses on adult animals, this fall there was we partnered with Sean Hayes at NOAA to test some new tagging technology with a biologging study with juvenile E Seals.
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Nicole Teutschel at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab, CA -- The E-Seal Team has a new member, Melinda Fowler. Although new to the TOPP team, she's had extensive experience with marine mammals. Melinda did her masters at Sonoma State University with Dan Crocker, who introduced the Missouri farm girl to the world of elephant seals. He showed her how their extreme behaviors and synchronized haul out schedule makes elephant seals a model system to study many physiological processes.
Jane Stevens at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab -- With luck, this female elephant seal will head out to sea soon, and, in about three months, bring back the first video of an elephant seal eating.....squid? ratfish? shark? Researchers know that elephant seals eat these, because they've found tiny remnants of these species in their stomachs. But they don't know where they're eating, or how often, or exactly what species.
Nicole Teutschel at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab, CA -- After we recovered 16 tags, and deployed 19 tags on a new group of seals, the E-Seal team gets a break today…well sort of. The E-Seal team will be working on prepping the last three tags that will be deployed this weekend. These last three seals will be equipped with GPS tags. GPS tags produce high quality tracks using the GPS satellite system, and provide researchers excellent quality data that can be used to study habitat choice, navigation, behavior and you name it!
Nicole Teutschel at Año Nuevo State Reserve, CA -- The E-Seal Team is working overtime to finish deploying 22 tags on a new group of female elephant seals. So far we’ve gotten 19 tagged: only three to go!
Tagging the elephant seals is very different from recovering them. The E-Seal Team must search the beaches for flipper tagged females, which can be a challenge!
Nicole Teutschel at Año Nuevo State Reserve, CA-- On Sunday, I was searching the beaches looking for ideal tagging candidates: adult females with flipper tags (that we put on when they were born), who are skinny, have big pups, and thick fur that we can glue the tags to. As the sun was setting, I was wading through the dozens of weaned pups in the Willows, some low-growing trees behind the largest harem at Año Nuevo State Reserve.
Nicole Teutschel at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab, CA -- Sometimes recovering a satellite tag is a dangerous endeavor and can take hours. That's the way it was with Annie, the ninth named seal whose tag we needed to retrieve.
Nicole Teutschel at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab, CA--Guadalupe’s tags have been recovered...again!
Nicole Teutschel at UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab, CA - It was another successful day at Año, and the eleventh satellite tag recovery of the season! Yesterday we recovered tags from Coya, one of the featured elephant seals with TOPP. Coya, also known as R999, hauled out at North Point on January 18th. Coya stayed in a harem with only a few females for a few days before she decided to move into another larger harem just north to have her pup on January 26th.