Wood and staff and volunteers can change the camera view remotely to capture specific data on seals or seal activities.Anyone can access the streaming video via mobile phones, tablets, or computers - fulfilling explore.org's goal of using technology to bring nature to people around the world.Live streaming video is available for four hours each day to conserve battery power. “As researchers, we are interested in learning when the first pups arrive, how long they keep their white coats, and how long they stay ashore after birth before heading off on their own.” She plans to use the camera to track the progression of the molting process at different stages during the pupping season.
The camera was turned on in December at the start of the gray seal pupping season and has already captured the live birth of a baby seal, social behaviors between adults, and interactions with bald eagles on the island. The footage can be seen on explore.org's web site at
Seal cam, powered by solar panels, will be streaming live footage daily between 10 a.m. The seal cam site was officially launched January 8 with a live chat with Stephanie Wood, a Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) seal researcher.
Wood and Gordon Waring, who heads the NEFSC seal research program, learned in late November that a remote video camera would be available again this year for research during gray seal pupping season on Seal Island.
While last season was a learning experience with the remote camera, Waring and Wood hope to take fuller advantage of the video equipment during this pupping season.
The video technology will be used to better understand gray seal ecology, especially during the winter months when aerial surveys and field work are limited. Researchers will be also looking for adult seals they have seen elsewhere - those that have been tagged or are uniquely marked and clearly identifiable, as this will provide additional information about seal movements and life history.
Video data will also be collected to develop a pup production model, something that does not exist for any U. Several marked seals have already been seen in camera footage.
Waring served as chief scientist for Cape Cod’s first tagging and sampling effort on adult gray seals, conducted in June 2013 off Chatham, Massachusetts.
Wood will be conducting another live chat on January 14 between 1 and 2 p.m. Seal Island has the second largest gray seal pupping colony in the United States. Fish and Wildlife Service, and is managed by the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge in cooperation with the National Audubon Society.
The 65-acre uninhabited island is located in outer Penobscot Bay about 20 miles south of Rockland and is also home to large colonies of Atlantic puffins, Arctic terns, bald eagles, and other seabirds. Muskeget Island, a small privately-owned island just northwest of Nantucket off the southeastern coast of Massachusetts, has the largest gray seal breeding and pupping colony in the U. Steve Kress of the National Audubon Society’s Seabird Restoration Program and Project Puffin has worked with to set up a network of solar panels, microwave relays, high definition (HD) cameras, and internet and video technologies to monitor seabirds on Seal Island.