Happy Feet the Scientist

Could climate scientists get some help from…Happy Feet?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Monitoring our oceans helps us understand how they’re changing. Right now, sensors monitor the sea’s currents, temperature, and salt levels. But they can’t cover the ENTIRE ocean.

Picture the data as a quilt — better without missing pieces or too much overlap. You want a thick, spread out blanket.  But our ocean data-blanket has holes!

Enter David March of University of Exeter and an international research team. They wanted to patch those holes!

March’s team determined where data is missing – AND guess who could help us out. Our undersea animal friends! Those whose habitats cover the most global area and ocean depth could wear sensors to gather data where humans can’t go.

So, who are the best animal scientists? Seals, sea lions, and sea turtles! Their travels overlap with the sensor-lacking polar and tropical areas. Thus, filling in the missing pieces in that ocean data quilt.

Poor Happy Feet!  This penguin didn’t make the cut, but his friends did!