2021-2022 Science Planning Summaries
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2021-2022 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

The consequences of maternal effects and environmental conditions on offspring success in an Antarctic predator


The consequences of maternal effects and environmental conditions on offspring success in an Antarctic predator
B-009-M Research Location(s): Erebus Bay

Summary

Event Number:
B-009-M

Program Manager:
Dr. Karla Heidelberg

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jenny Cunningham / Dave Ferris


Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Jay Rotella
rotella@montana.edu
Montana State University Bozeman
Ecology
Bozeman, Montana


Location

Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Erebus Bay


Description

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

  • Parker Levinson
  • Evan Shields
  • Victor Villalobos