Notes from a remote Polar field site by Terrie M. Williams, PhD
Funded by the National Science Foundation – Division of Polar Programs
Wings Worldquest Expedition Flag #23
Video, Photos and Text: Terrie Williams, Beau Richter, David Williams

In 2001, under the constant sunlight of the Antarctic summer, our research team explored the underwater world of Weddell seals as they hunted for fish below the polar ice.

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    Using cameras worn by diving seals, we discovered that the crafty seals took advantage of the sun to backlight fish and other seals, as well as to find breathing holes as they hunted from the depths below.

    After eight years of planning our research team is back on the ice. Our goal is to discover how Weddell seals survive the most challenging season in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

    Join us on our journey as we travel into the world of the Weddell seal in winter. Each week we will post our discoveries as the science unfolds on the polar sea ice. There is no predicting what will happen. From bone chilling temperatures and blinding snow to the eerie underwater calls and wild chases of diving seals: that is the thrill of Antarctic exploration you will experience with us.

    Click on each week (bottom left) to follow the expedition.

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  • If Weddell seals need light for seeing fish in the summer,
    A seal's eye view below the Antarctic sea ice. A Weddell seal wearing a camera (nose and whiskers at the bottom) looks up at another seal blocking a breathing hole in the ice. White sunlight at the hole backlights the other seal. The gray area is the under surface of the frozen sea near McMurdo, Antarctica.
    how do they find fish to eat during the long, cold, dark winter months in Antarctica?
           Questions to our Antarctic research team on the ice:
                     Contact Terrie Williams,

           All research/pictures on this website are authorized under NMFS Permit No. 984-1814-02.
    PDF design: Beau Richter
    Site design: Leslie Liwanag

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