2021-2022 USAP Field Season
The consequences of maternal effects and environmental conditions on offspring success in an Antarctic predator
Dr. Jay Rotella
Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
The consequences of variations in maternal effects on the ability of offspring to survive, reproduce, and contribute to future generations have rarely been evaluated in polar marine mammals. This is because of inadequate data on the survival and reproductive outcomes of offspring born in diverse environmental conditions to mothers with known and diverse sets of traits. This project will evaluate the survival and reproductive consequences of early-life environmental conditions and offspring traits related to maternal attributes (e.g. birth date, birth mass, weaning mass, and swimming behavior) in a population of individually marked Weddell seals in the Ross Sea.
Field Season Overview
Support scope is reduced this season due to COVID-19 impacts. Three participants will deploy to McMurdo Station in early October 2021 and will redeploy in mid-December 2021. The team will make day trips from McMurdo onto the sea ice to find, tag, and weigh seal pups with their mothers. They will work out of two "Apple" shelters placed near Big Razorback Island and Turtle Rock. The team will also make four to five helicopter trips to survey seal colonies and locate pups.
Deploying Team Members