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Update from the Arctic

More from Penguin Watch is imminent, but I thought you’d like to get an update from the “wrong” end of the world. I got swamped and have neglected the blog, so here are some photos from a trip to Svalbard for kittiwake and guillemot research. This is very different to penguin lifelines as this is more via collaborating with many other fieldworkers around the Arctic.

Mark Jessopp (from the CMRC in Ireland and I placed and serviced a couple of cameras on Svalbard, with Quark again on the Sea Adventurer. It was great to be on with a bunch of friends and really great to work with Woody and Annie. Most importantly, the camera we placed last year was still there!

More coming on this in the next few months; we’re revamping penguin watch to be more useful for colony counts and to go beyond penguins. Stay tuned!

Tom and Mark celebrate a camera that survived the winter - we didn't really expect that!

Tom and Mark celebrate a camera that survived the winter – we didn’t really expect that!

South Georgia, mon amor.

Hi All,

23rd November, 2015

Well, here we are once again bobbing around the Southern Ocean. We’re on board the Hans Hansson in South Georgia, with Tom Murphy and 10 guests from Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris. All made possible by the legendary team of Dion, Juliette and Leif. Caitlin is with me as we return to last year’s sites to see how the cameras have performed.

Shags nesting on the wreck of the Bayard in Ocean Harbour

Shags nesting on the wreck of the Bayard in Ocean Harbour

With a lot of time on South Georgia, we have managed to return to all of the sites we got to last year. We’re getting some phenomenal imagery back from the cameras, which look like really good data. In particular, the new seal cameras have been a great success, we can now follow the reproductive success of elephant seals and fur seals.

Here’s a snippet from Ocean Harbour, which is a foraging camera. It takes photos every minute when penguins are raising chicks. That allows us to work out the length of foraging trips and potentially the feeding rate of chicks. You can see a changeover of partners start to happen in this clip.

Next up, Caitlin will join the Ocean Endeavour with Quark, to be joined by Anni Djurhuis and Hila Levy. I stay on board the Hans Hansson joining a team attempting the first survey of the Danger Islands.

Placing cameras in the Antarctic

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What do the PenguinLifelines team do when they go to the Antarctic? Amongst other things, they place new cameras at points across the Antarctic, and collect a year of footage from existing cameras.

Here are some videos of Dr. Tom Hart ‘in the wild’.