Marine mammals took our jobs!

Image courtesy SEAOS project

This time they’ve gone too far. In this economy, it’s hard enough to find employment as a marine scientist. Marine mammals are taking our jobs!

In the good old days, oceanographic equipment was so complicated that the only people who could use it were trained marine scientists. The good old days are no more.

Image from

I recently attended a fascinating talk by Dr. Ailsa Hall, director of the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St. Andrew’s University. She t0ld me something truly horrifying. Apparently, through St. Andrew’s SAVEX and SEAOS projects, marine mammals are being used to collect oceanographic data! Elephant seals are fitted with CTD probes capable of broadcasting data to satellites, and as they move through their habitat, they collect data and send it to UK based scientists!

Image courtesy SAVEX project

Elephant seals need no salary or health insurance, and they work weekends! How am I supposed to compete with this?

For a full list of publications based on this research, see here and here. So far, these animals have been alarmingly effective at collecting oceanographic data throughout the Southern ocean.



  1. Angela · April 23, 2010

    Also, how did you get the probe on without getting bitten or worse!

    • WhySharksMatter · April 27, 2010

      Research projects that involve either interesting places or charismatic megafauna tend to have no shortage of volunteers.

  2. bs · April 27, 2010

    i’m more concerned with how that thing glued to their heads affects their life. are we sure the probe broadcasting to satellites does not impact the seals’ own communication senses? would you like a think glued to your head?

    • WhySharksMatter · April 27, 2010

      Are you suggesting that digital communication technology can flummox a seal’s sense of smell or sight?

    • Southern Fried Scientist · April 27, 2010

      personally, all my think is associated with my head.

    • WhySharksMatter · April 27, 2010

      I don’t know… a lot of my think these days is associated with my stomach. Speaking of which, my french bread pizza is ready!

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