Hello Tomnod Crowd!
You’ve been hard at work for the better part of six months, searching intently for seals on the vast icescape that we call Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The task is not easy (believe me I know!) and it’s often strenuous: which is why I wanted to check in and celebrate International Seal Day with you. This day was declared by the US Congress on March 22, 1982 to promote awareness of seals. What better day to share what you’ve already helped us to accomplish, and what we have up our sleeves next:
- Seal habitat: Because of your efforts, we can now describe what makes good seal habitat, at least in the Ross Sea. For example, it seems like seals choose fast ice that is close to emperor penguins but far from Adélie penguins! We are currently writing this work up for publication and will update you all when it’s available.
- The finish line: There is only 10% of the coastline left to search, everyone! This is simply incredible. I can’t stress enough how you’re helping us to do something that was previously impossible.
- Perfection: As I suspected, it turns out that you all are pretty good at locating seals: in all cases I’ve reviewed there have been 0 instances where you have missed seals that were on the ice. In other words, your ability to accurately say, “Nope, there are no seals here” is 100% PERFECT.
Ok, so as you might imagine, now our team of scientists is getting into the “good stuff” – the “good stuff” being statistical analysis, continent-wide modeling, and lots of paper-writing! So what do we have up our sleeves next? Well, for starters my colleagues and I are going to present our work so far (all thanks to YOU!) at a couple science conferences this (northern-hemisphere) spring and summer. In the meantime, we are hoping you’ll continue to help us finish up searching the remaining 10% of coastline, after which will be really, REALLY fun… because then we are going back to actually tagging seals!
That’s right, after the continent-wide campaign is done the idea is we are going back to the places where seals live and asking for you to help us tag them to get a population count – which will be incredibly rewarding, at least for me. We can’t wait to get that started, and to get going quicker, please do help us on the home stretch!
On international seal day or ANY day, be a part of current seal research, no matter where you live!
Join us, will you?? www.tomnod.com
All my gratitude,