Marine Mammals Exploring the Oceans Pole to Pole

When diving animals help us to observe the oceans

Over 800,000 vertical profiles of Temperature and Salinity have been collected since 2004 in the World Ocean by attaching tags on marine mammals, such as Southern elephant seals.

In this website, you will find information about the marine mammal tagging programs, and an access point to the publicly available databases.

Please let us know if you are using our data. You can contact us by mail to if you have any question.

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MEOP-SMS Database: submesoscale sampling of the ocean

It is now possible to archive logging data in a flash memory inside the CTD-SRDL tags, so that when the tag is recovered after a deployment, the whole dataset can be retrieved. Elephant seals typically perform more than 60 dives every day. This opens new and exciting potentialities in terms of ocean observation, with a unique capability to resolve submesoscale variability in intense frontal regions.

The MEOP-SMS database is a collection of CTD data gathered with CTD-SRDLs attached to elephant seals. The CTD-SRDLs were set in continuous recording mode, and could be retrieved, enabling retrieval of the entire CTD archive at the sampling frequency (0.5 Hz) for periods of several months. Instruments were deployed at the Kerguelen Islands and at Peninsula Valdes (Argentina) as part of the SO-MEMO program led by Christophe Guinet (CEBC/CNRS, France).

Data are provided both in the form of timeseries (format ncTRAJ) and in the form of profiles (format ncARGO). A description of the dataset and the post-processing can be found in Siegelman et al., 2019.

To download the public data, you have to fill in a simple form, asking for your name, email, who you are and what you plan to do with the data. You will then access a page with the links to the data. The MEOP-CTD, MEOP-SMS and MEOP-TDR databases can be accessed a zip file or through a read-only Dropbox folder. 

An example of a temperature and salinity section obtained by a continously-recording CTD-SRDL:

Distribution of data avilable in the latest version of the MEOP-SMS database.