Antarctic Pack Ice Seals


  • Prof Sir Ian Boyd

Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), School of Biology

(British Antarctic Survey, NOAA, Australian Antarctic Division)

The project was mainly active in the late 1990s and early 2000. Its aim was to estimate the size of populations of seals which inhabit the Antarctic pack ice, especially the crabeater seal which until that time had been suggested to be the second most abundant large mammal on the planet after man. Resulting estimates corrected this myth. The programme of work involved extensive ship- and aircraft-based surveys within the Antarctic pack ice.

The International Antarctic Pack Ice Seals (APIS) Program, Multi-disciplinary Research into the Ecology and Behavior of Antarctic Pack Ice Seals Summary Update

The photograph was taken from the US Coastguard Icebreaker Polar Sea while in the Amundsen Sea. It shows a tabular iceberg which has broken off the Antarctic Ice Sheet floats in pack ice which has been broken loose by storms. It is taken in the summer twilight of the Antarctic night.

Photography: Ian L Boyd