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Counting Weddell Seals in Antarctica

Main Project Information
Goal Help scientists create an accurant count of seals.
Task Count Weddell seals using satellite imagery.
Where Online only Antarctica, Antarctica
Description

Have your students help scientists count Weddell seals using satellite imagery.

Many people think seals on the ice are easy to count. There is no place for them to hide when they are out of the water. They are not afraid of people so don’t run away, and if they are with a pup, the adult stays in the same location for several days. However it is not that easy. There are seals all over the place as new cracks in the ice create new suitable locations for feeding and many seals move to these new areas. Counting individuals is difficult unless they are tagged because it’s hard to know if we counted this one yesterday or not. To solve these problem scientists are using satellite images that can take a picture of a large area at one moment in time. They then can count them using a computer.

In this activity, we ask for your help in counting the seals using satellite images. Scientists need all the help they can in creating an accurate count. We hope you will take the time to join our team and help do the counting as the images come in several times every season.

How to Join

Go here for the instructions, a counting tutorial, and the images.
http://z.umn.edu/seals

Website http://z.umn.edu/seals
Participation Fee $0
Expenses $0
Required Gear

access to the internet to download the images and use of the computer to help in the counting.

Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Spend the Time indoors
Type of Activity Exclusively online
Class Materials http://www.pgc.umn.edu/about/research/weddell
Media Mentions
and Publications
Tags Antarctica, population counts, population dynamics, satellite imagery, seals
Project Updated 08/07/2016