2016 - Antarctica: Weddell seals - Nodder thoughts


I think the task is next to impossible! A Weddell seal is 3m long HERE=>.
That is the size of 1 one pixel in the picture . And the picture has been softened so the pixels are not well defined See the scale along the loweredge of the picture.



Ahh… I do that… ever so gently ! Now that is exiting !



Michael, you are correct! It’s a tough challenge to find seals, I know… but you’re right, they tend to be along cracks and are darker than the crack spots you have in this image. How are you doing so far?! (This is Michelle, by the way, the project leader).

Thank you so much for your help!


Hi Bjarne,

So, the images you’re looking at are actually 60 cm resolution - so the seals take up several pixels and are actually pretty easy to see. Have you checked out the examples and tips we’ve provided? Let me know how else I can help, I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your work on this… we literally can’t do this without your help!



13 posts were split to a new topic: Dr Michelle LaRue’s research pages and links to presentations


Temporarily off the topic of seals, could I ask some rather dumb-sounding questions??

When I’ve thought of Antarctica, I’ve always pictured a ‘never-ending’ ice sheet with some elevations and broken ice, and breaking ice with global warming.

But the last time I entered the campaign, I got dropped in a hard-to-describe area. It looked like snow up to mountain peaks with just the peaks showing above the ice, next to swaths of trees and rocks, with what resembled “access roads” or all-terrain vehicle paths in nice neat swaths, all running in basically even swathes from top to bottom of the tiles.

I think the nadir had something to do with how that area appeared, plus I’m used to seeing State Game lands with forests and access roads or widely cut areas where power lines go through in the northeast lower 48. I posted that God paints abstracts, because I really cannot figure out what I’m seeing. Reminds me of the mountains in the Nepal campaign-- except, I’m expecting to see pools of water or ice cracks, and see nothing like that.

So Dr Michelle, can you give a brief description of what landforms we could see here, so we’re a little more oriented and know what we’re looking at?

And please tell me, what are the thin shapes usually along water that are completely white and shaped like little canoes or boats? We’ve done so many boat campaigns-- I know these white features aren’t really boats—but WHAT are they?

Personally, I think the seals heard WV3 coming, stuck out their tongues, and slid under the ice! And there they bob, laughing at us! At over 1k, I have only marked 43 “guessitsaweddell, I think???” and most probably will be “aren’tweddells-at-all” LOL Methinks you’ll be counting lots-o-rocks on this one!

Would it help to have real color to compare? Or is this real color now?



How do you know where are Weddel seals and where other species of seals?


Do I take it these are not Weddell’s I’ve highlighted ? Or could those be the “waddle” tracks of penguins above my highlight or maybe just the rolliing stones :sunglasses: they’re looking a little craggy now too :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :laughing:

I’m sewing with navy blue and bright yellow at the moment sew maybe not such a good idea for me to be dipping into this one tonight…extreme colour blindness :sweat_smile::sunglasses:


Those don’t look like seals to me, especially because the surrounding ice doesn’t seem to be sea ice - those look like rocks on land.



It looks like you are in that “abstract” section I asked about in another thread. If so, it looks like ‘mountain elevations’, craggy rocks with ‘dark spottiness’, sections of snow, then what looks like trees or more ‘mountain elevations’. It could just be the nadir angle - however you’d describe it, it doesn’t look flat—right?

In her speech, Dr Michelle said penguins leave behind ‘poo’… ahem… e.g. excrement. The patchiness above it might be that?? But because that black spot is elevated, I think it is a rock. Shrug?? e.g. I dunno, or NotaWeddell.


Laisve, very good question! The reason we know these are Weddell seals is because those are the only seals that are on the fast ice (i.e., ice that is “fastened” to the coastline) in November, which is the time frame we’re searching on the images. Other seals you might find in this area of Antarctica would be crabeater seals and maybe a leopard seal. But in November crabeaters are in the pack ice (far from land) and leopard seals are solitary so hard to find.

Does that help? Thank you so much for your help!



Yes, thanks @Michelle4 and @cageycat I kind of guessed it wasn’t :blush:

So I’ve headed off to the right and up tracking the cracks and such again :wink:



I was impressed when watching you speak-- so poised, passionate, and personable!

It’s very nice how you thank us for participating in this campaign to help you with your work. :smiley: From what I gathered from your speech, you’ve looked at many, many, many years of satellite images to find waddling penguins :thumbsup: , so I’m sure it’s nice for you to have extra eyes/hands to assist with this.


Wow, thank you for the compliment! And my thanks for your help is truly genuine - I’ve looked at more satellite images than I care to admit, so having other eyes on the problem is very welcome… and will also allow us to do the kind of science that we’ve only dreamed about up to this point. Really, thank you!


Ummm, am I confused or is the scale of Weddell suddenly unworkable? Wasn’t the standard “0” scale something like 10 m? (I honestly don’t remember.) Now, the scale is 100 m. (http://www.tomnod.com/campaign/antarctica_pilot_1/map/ektxgy4s ) How the heck am I supposed to resolve a 3-4 m critter on a 100 m scale?

Now I’ve flipped to a new area. I was right. The original scale was 10 m. However, the 10 m is so pixelated that there is no possibility of resolving a seal or a rock. This looks like 100 m imagery that is blown up to “0” of 10 m. I quit. Send me an email when something real comes up. http://www.tomnod.com/campaign/antarctica_pilot_1/map/efixsy9e


http://www.tomnod.com/campaign/antarctica_pilot_1/map/ektx6y52 (the tile in the blue square below)

I have no idea what I’m looking at there. There are things in the blue tile that could be seals, but I don’t think so.
That top bit is fast ice, but the rest??


If it wasn’t for the title, I’d guess the Moon or Mars…


Pluto. I thought it was something in my resolution, till I got the brain in gear and figured out it’s the sat res




“Goodbye cruel world”! :sweat: