Avian Island Elephant Seals and Skuas

Avian Island is home to more than pengiuns.  There you will also see elephant seals.

elephant seal goes to water Dena 2013 elephant seal on avian Dena Jan 2013 elephant seals and skuas Dena Jan 2013

Filming and Learning in Antarctica

Dena Seidel reports the “science continues to be amazing.”

Here are 2 photos from Antarctica – one taken on Humble Island interviewing penguin scientist Donna Fraser (you may recognize the penguins from an earlier posting) and the other taken on the glacier behind Palmer station with scientist Reide Corbett, who is studying glacial runoff but is not part of the Long Term Ecological Research project.

Dena Seidel filming Donna Fraser with Adélie penguins, Humble Island, Jan. 2013. (Photo: Chris Linder)

Dena Seidel interviewing Reide Corbett and graduate student Leigha Peterson behind Palmer Station, Jan. 2013.(Photo: Chris Linder)



Dena Seidel

Meet the Adélie Penguins

Dear all,

We spent today (January 3) filming Donna Fraser and her team tagging Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) on Humble Island, a small island off of Palmer station. This population of Antarctic penguins is rapidly declining due to retreating sea ice. They are dependent on the sea ice, and the accompanying krill, for their survival. The penguins had many chicks that they were shading from the hot sun.  Here are three photos taken from the film footage.

Scientist Donna Fraser with the Adélie penguins on Humble Island (Photo: Dena Seidel)


Adélie penguin research involves measurements such as this one. Humble Island, January 2013. (Photo: Dena Seidel)


Penguin Hill on Humble Island, January 2013. (Photo: Dena Seidel)


We are now at Palmer station until Saturday morning when we begin the month long science cruise. This is all quite amazing and our students will learn a great deal from working this project.

Dena Seidel

For more on information on Adélie penguins (for a general audience including kids) see:




For penguin and conservation enthusiasts, see:




Southern Giant Petrel

Chris Linder, a cinematographer and photographer on the AQ Team, managed to capture a shot of this magnificent Southern Giant Petrel (Maconectes giganteus).  If you look closely, you’ll see the nostrils extend along the top of the beak.

Southern Giant Petrel (Photo credit: Chris Linder)

For additional information on the Southern Giant Petrel, also known as the Antarctic Petrel, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Giant_Petrel and http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3870.

Additional reading can be found in Brooke, M. Albartosses and Petrels across the World. (Oxford University Press, 2004). Thanks to Beth Simmons for species identification.

Commerson’s Dolphin

Whale biologist Dave Johnson took this picture of a Commerson’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii).  This dolphin also goes by the names Skunk dolphin and the Piebald dolphin.  Note it’s distinct black head, dorsal fin and flukes.

Commerson's dolphin (Photo credit: Dave Johnson)


-Dena Seidel

For more information on the Commerson’s Dolphin, see: http://www.whale-web.com/dolphins/commerson.html


Drake Passage

We are traveling thru the Drake passage. Everyone is prepping their science stations. Sampling won’t begin until after we leave Palmer Station. Today we interview Donna Frasier, penguin biologist. We will get to film the declining Adele penguin colony when we are at Palmer. Donna will be staying at Palmer and won’t be going on the next cruise with us.

Sunset view from the Gould, Drake Passage

All very exciting. It is great working with Chris. We feel very honored to be here.

-Dena Seidel