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Hand-held Computers in Antarctica 12.20.2001

Computers help track seals.

At McMurdo Base in the Antarctic, Michael Cameron, from the Conservation Biology Program of the University of Minnesota, has been part of the team which, from October to December, works in McMurdo Sound to observe and record the population dynamics and behavior of Weddell seals, a species discovered in Antarctica by Captain James Weddell in 1820. The researchers from the University of Minnesota tag the Weddell seals with a unique ID number. By individually identifying animals and tracking them from year to year, this tagging allows them to learn a great deal about seals. The team uses a hand-held computer from DAP Technologies, a manufacturer of hand-held computers that are able to function in temperatures as low as -30EºC. Relying on the flexibility of MICROFLEX Windows CE5240 for data collection, Michael Cameron has developed a program allowing the entry of an enormous quantity of information on tagged seals such as their sex, age and reproductive status.

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