Seal and Seabird Tracks: Pacific Ocean

Seal and Seabird Tracks: Pacific Ocean thumbnail


"TOPP, Tagging of the Pacific Predators, began in 2000 as one of 17 projects of the Census of Marine Life, an ambitios 10-year, 80-nation endeavor to assess and explain the diversity and abundance of life in the oceans, and where that life has lived, is living, and will live." - From TOPP website . Out of this came the Tagging of the Pacific Pelagics Project. Pelagaics are open ocean species such as sea birds and elephant seals. Scientists put satellite tags on animals that collect information about position, ocean temperature, pressure, salinity and more! This allows scientists to better understand the migration patterns and habits of these animals.

This dataset follows Northern elephant seals and Sooty Shearwater seabirds. Northern elephant seals dive deep, sometimes down to 4,650ft and routinely down to 1,800ft. They spend 10 months a year at sea and return to the same beach a couple of times a year, so they are easy to tag and monitor. Sooty Shearwater seabirds are long distance fliers that may travel 74,000km (46,000miles) in a year, reaching Japan, Alaska and California. This dataset tracks Northern elephant seals and Sooty Shearwater seabirds from January 28, 2005 through February 1, 2006. Pictures of elephant seals are available for use as PIPs (picture in pictures).

See real-time tracking of the Pacific Pelagics

Notable Features

  • Only shows tracking in the Pacific Ocean
  • Elephant seals spend 10 months per year at sea
  • Sooty shearwater seabirds may travel 46,000 miles per year