Project Information
Collaborative Research: Exploring the Vulnerability of Southern Ocean Pinnipeds to Climate Change - An Integrated Approach
Start Date:
End Date:
Building on previously funded NSF research, the use of paleobiological and paleogenetic data from mummified elephant seal carcasses found along the Dry Valleys and Victoria Land Coast in areas that today are too cold to support seal colonies (Mirougina leonina; southern elephant seals; SES) supports the former existence of these seals in this region. The occurrence and then subsequent disappearance of these SES colonies is consistent with major shifts in the Holocene climate to much colder conditions at the last ~1000 years BCE).

Further analysis of the preserved remains of three other abundant pinnipeds ? crabeater (Lobodon carciophagus), Weddell (Leptonychotes weddelli) and leopard (Hydrurga leptonyx) will be studied to track changes in their population size (revealed by DNA analysis) and their diet (studied via stable isotope analysis). Combined with known differences in life history, preferred ice habitat and ecosystem sensitivity among these species, this paleoclimate proxy data will be used to assess their exposure and sensitivity to climate change in the Ross Sea region during the past ~1-2,000 years
Person Role
Koch, Paul Investigator
Costa, Daniel Co-Investigator
Hoelzel, A. Rus Co-Investigator
Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Award # 1142108
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
0 (raw data)
Repository Title (link) Format(s) Status
BCO-DMO Southern Ocean Pinnipeds None exist
  1. Koch, P. L., Hall, B. L., de Bruyn, M., Hoelzel, A. R., Baroni, C., & Salvatore, M. C. (2019). Mummified and skeletal southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) from the Victoria Land Coast, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Marine Mammal Science, 35(3), 934–956. (doi:10.1111/mms.12581)
Platforms and Instruments

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