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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Content of the website

Publications 2010-2014

 [bio] Andersen J, Stenson G, Skern-Maurizen M, Wiersma Y, Rosing-Asvid A , Boehme L, Hammill M, 2014. Drift diving by hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. PLoS One, vol 9, no. 7, e103072. 

[ocean] Grist JP, Josey SA , Boehme L , Meredith MP, Laidre K, Heide-Jorgensen MP, Kovacs K, Lydersen C, Davidson F, Stenson G, Hammill M, Marsh R, Coward A, 2014.  Seasonal variability of the warm Atlantic water layer in the vicinity of the Greenland shelf break. Geophysical Research Letters, vol 41, no. 23, pp. 8530-8537. [PDF]

 [bio] Guinet C., Vacquié-Garcia J., Picard B., Bessigneul G., Lebras Y., Dragon A.C., Viviant M., Arnould J.P.Y., Bailleul F., 2014. Southern Elephant Seal foraging success in relation to temperature and light conditions: insight on their prey distribution. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. Ser. 499:285-301.

[bio] Heerah K., Hindell M., Guinet C.,Charrassin J.B., 2014. A new method to quantify within dive foraging behaviour in marine predators. Plos One. 9 : e99329. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099329   

[ocean] Isachsen, P. E., Sørlie, S. R., Mauritzen, C., Lydersen, C., Dodd, P., and Kovacs, K. M., 2014. Upper-ocean hydrography of the Nordic Seas during the International Polar Year (2007–2008) as observed by instrumented seals and Argo floats. Deep Sea Research Part I, 93:41-59.

[bio] O’Toole M., Hindell M. A., Charrassin J.-B., Guinet C., 2014. Foraging behaviour of southern elephant seals over the Kerguelen Plateau. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. doi: 10.3354/meps10709    

[bio] Richard G, Vacquié-Garcia J, Jouma’a J, Picard B, Génin A, Bailleul F, Guinet C., 2014. Elephant seal density, diving speed, swimming effort and dive duration. Journal of experimental Biology. doi: 10.1242/ jeb.088542

[tech] Roquet F., Williams G., Hindell M. A., Harcourt R., McMahon C. R., Guinet C., Charrassin J.-B., Reverdin G., Boehme L., Lovell P. and Fedak M. A., 2014. A Southern Indian Ocean database of hydrographic profiles obtained with instrumented elephant seals. Nature Scientific Data, 1:140028, doi: 10.1038/sdata.2014.28. Data available from BODC. [PDF].

[ocean] Tverberg, V., Nøst, O. A., Lydersen, C., and Kovacs, K. M., 2014. Winter sea ice melting in the Atlantic Water subduction area, Svalbard Norway. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 119:5945–5967.

[ocean] Kitade, Y., Shimada, K., Tamura, T., Williams, G. D., Aoki, S., Fukamachi, Y., Roquet F., Hindell, M., Ushio, S., and Ohshima, K. I., 2014. Antarctic Bottom Water production from the Vincennes Bay Polynya, East Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters. 41, 2014GL059971. doi: 10.1002/2014GL059971

[ocean] Zhou, Q., Hattermann, T., Nøst, O. A., Biuw, M., Kovacs, K. M., and Lydersen, C., 2014. Wind-driven spreading of fresh surface water beneath ice shelves in the Eastern Weddell Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 119:3818-3833.

 [bio] Andersen JM, Skern-Mauritzen M, Boehme L , Wiersma YF, Rosvig-Asvid A, Hammill M, Stenson G, 2013. Investigating annual diving behaviour by Hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) within the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. PLoS One, vol 8, no. 11, e80438.

[ocean] Arthun, M., Nicholls, K.W. and Boehme, L. 2013. Wintertime Water Mass modification near an Antarctic Ice Front. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 43(2): 359-365, 10.1175/jpo-d-12-0186.1

 [ocean] Blain S., Renaut S., Xing X., Claustre H., Guinet C., 2013. Instrumented elephant seals reveal the seasonality in chlorophyll and light mixing regime in the iron fertilized Southern Ocean. Geophysical Research Letter. 40, 1–5, doi:10.1002/2013GL058065

[ocean] Close S, Naveira Garabato A, McDonagh E, King B , Biuw M, Boehme L, 2013. Control of mode and intermediate water mass properties in Drake Passage by the Amundsen Sea low. Journal of Climate. vol 26, no. 14, JCLI-D-12-00346, pp. 5102-5123. 

[bio] D’ovidio F. De Monte S., Della Penna, A., Cotté C., Guinet C., 2013. Ecological implications of oceanic eddy retention in the open ocean: a Lagrangian approach. J. Phys. A: Math. Theor. J. Phys. A: Math. Theor. 46 

[tech] Guinet C., Xing X., Walker E., Monestiez P., Marchand S., Picard B., Jaud T., Authier M., Cotte C., Dragon A. C., Diamond E., Antoine D., Lovell P., Blain S., D'Ortenzio F., Claustre H., 2013. Calibration procedures and first dataset of Southern Ocean chlorophyll a profiles collected by elephant seals equipped with a newly developed CTD-fluorescence tags. Earth System Science Data, 5:15-29.

[ocean] Guinet C., Walker E., Monestiez P., Xing X., Marchand S., Picard B., Jaud T., Authier M., Cotté C., Dragon A.C., Diamond E., Antoine D., Lovell P., Blain S., D’ortenzio F., Claustre H., 2013. Assessment of phytoplankton concentration in the Southern Ocean by elephant seal equipped with a new generation of CTD-fluorescence tags. Earth System  Science Data, 1, 1–15. doi:10.5194/essd-1-1-2013 

[bio] Heerah, K., Andrews-Goff, V., Williams, G., Sultan, E., Hindell, M., Patterson, T., and Charrassin, J.-B., 2013. Ecology of Weddell seals during winter: Influence of environmental parameters on their foraging behaviour. Deep Sea Research Part II, 88-89:23-33.

[MEOP ocean] Fedak, M. A., 2013. The impact of animal platforms on polar ocean observation. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 88-89:7-13. [PDF]

[MEOP ocean] Roquet F., Wunsch C., Forget G., Heimbach P., Guinet C., Reverdin G., Charrassin J.-B., Bailleul F., Costa D. P., Huckstadt L. A., Goetz K. T., Kovacs K. M., Lydersen C., Biuw M., Nøst O. A., Bornemann H., Ploetz, J., Bester M. N., Mcintyre T., Muelbert M. C., Hindell M. A., McMahon C. R., Williams G., Harcourt R., Field I. C., Chafik L., Nicholls K. W., Boehme L., and Fedak M. A., 2013. Estimates of the Southern Ocean General Circulation Improved by Animal-Borne Instruments. Geoph. Res. Letts., 40:1-5. doi: 10.1002/2013GL058304. [PDF] 

[ocean] Sutherland, D. A., Straneo, F., Stenson, G. B., Davidson, F. J. M., Hammill, M. O., and Rosing-Asvid, A., 2013. Atlantic water variability on the SE Greenland continental shelf and its relationship to SST and bathymetry. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 118:847-855. doi:  10.1029/2012JC008354      

[ocean] Ohshima K. I., Fukamachi Y., Williams G. D., Nihashi S., Roquet F., Kitade Y., Tamura T., Hirano D., Herraiz-Borreguero L., Field I., Hindell M., Aoki S., and Wakatsuchi M., 2013. Antarctic Bottom Water production by intense sea-ice formation in the Cape Darnley Polynia. Nature Geoscience. 6:235-240. doi: 10.1038/ngeo1738 [PDF]

 [ocean] Arthun, M., Nicholls, K. W., Makinson, K., Fedak, M. A., and Boehme, L., 2012. Seasonal inflow of warm water onto the southern Weddell Sea continental shelf, Antarctica. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39:L17601.

[bio] Authier M., Dragon A.C., Richard P., Cherel Y., Guinet C, 2012. Mother where wert thou? Maternal strategies in the southern elephant seal: a stable isotope investigation. Proc Roy. Soc. B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0199

 [bio] Bestley, S., Jonsen, I. D., Hindell, M. A., Guinet, C., and Charrassin, J.-B., 2012. Integrative modelling of animal movement: incorporating in situ habitat and behavioural information for a migratory marine predator. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences.

[bio] Chaigne A., Authier M., Richard P, Cherel Y., Guinet C., 2012. Shift in foraging grounds and diet broadening during ontogeny in southern elephant seals from Kerguelen Islands. Marine Biology. doi 10.1007/S00227-012-2149-5

[bio] Dragon, A. C., Bar-Hen, A., Monestiez, P. Guinet, C., 2012. Horizontal Area-Restricted-Search and Vertical Diving Movements to Predict Foraging Success in a Marine Top-Predator. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 447: 243–25

[bio] Dragon, A-C., Bar-Hen, A., Monestiez, P., Guinet C., 2012. Comparative analysis of methods for inferring successful foraging areas from Argos and GPS tracking data, Marine Ecologie Progress Series. doi: 10.3354/meps09618

[bio] Field, I. C., Harcourt, R. G., Boehme, L., Bruyn, P. J. N. d., Charrassin, J.-B., McMahon, C. R., Bester, M. N., Fedak, M. A., and Hindell, M. A., 2012. Refining instrument attachment on phocid seals. Marine Mammal Science, 28:E325-E332.

[bio] Jaud T, Dragon A-C, Vacquié-Garcia J, Guinet C., 2012. Relationship between Chlorophyll a concentration, light attenuation and diving depth of the Southern Elephant Seal Mirounga leonina. PLoS ONE 7(10): e47444. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047444    

[bio] McIntyre, T., Ansorge, I., Bornemann, H., Plötz, J., Tosh, C. A. and Bester, M. N., 2012. Elephant seal foraging dives do indeed track prey distribution, but temperature influences the distribution of prey: Reply to Boersch-Supan et al. (2012), Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 461:299-301, doi:10.3354/meps09891 

[bio] Vacquié-Garcia J., Royer F., Dragon A.C., Viviant M., Bailleul F., Guinet C., 2012. Foraging in the darkness of the Southern Ocean: influence of Bioluminescence on a deep diving predator. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43565. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043565    

[ocean] Xing X., Claustre H., Blain S., D’ortenzio F., Antoine D., Ras J., Guinet C., 2012. Quenching correction for in vivo chlorophyll fluorescence measured by instrumented elephant seals in the Kerguelen region (Southern Ocean). Limnology and Oceanography: Method, 10:483–495.      

 [ocean] Grist, J. P., Josey, S. A., Boehme, L., Meredith, M. P., Davidson, F. J. M., Stenson, G. B., and Hammill, M. O., 2011. Temperature signature of high latitude Atlantic boundary currents revealed by marine mammal-borne sensor and Argo data. Geophys. Res. Lett., 38. [PDF]

[bio] McIntyre, T., Ansorge, I., Bornemann, H., Plötz, J., Tosh, C. A. and Bester, M. N., 2011. Elephant seal diving behaviour is influenced by ocean temperature: implications for climate change impacts on an ocean predator, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 441:257-272, doi:10.3354/meps09383 

 [ocean] Meredith, M. P., Nicholls, K. W., Renfrew, I. A., Boehme, L., Biuw, M., and Fedak, M., 2011. Seasonal evolution of the upper-ocean adjacent to the South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean: Results from a "lazy biological mooring". Deep Sea Research Part II, 58:1569–1579.

[ocean] Nøst, O.-A., Biuw, M., Tverberg, V., Lydersen, C., Zhou, Q., Hattermann, T., Smedsrud, L.-H., and Kovacs, K.M., 2011. Overturning of the slope front controls glacial melting in the Eastern Weddell Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research 116, C11014, doi:10.1029/2011JC006965.

[MEOP tech] Roquet F., Charrassin J.-B., Marchand S., Boehme L., Fedak M., Reverdin G., and Guinet C., 2011. Validating hydrographic data obtained from seal-borne satellite-relayed data loggers. J. Atmosph. And Ocean. Tech., 28:787-801. doi: 10.1175/2010JTECHO801.1 [PDF]

[ocean] Williams G. D., Hindell M., Houssais M.-N., Tamura T., and Field I. C., 2011. Upper ocean stratification and sea ice growth rates during the summer-fall transition, as revealed by Elephant seal foraging in the Adelie Depression, East Antarctica. Ocean Sci., 7:185-202.

 [bio] Bailleul F., Authier M., Ducatez S., Roquet F., Charrassin J.-B., Cherel Y., and Guinet, C., 2010. Looking at the unseen: combining animal bio-logging and stable isotopes to reveal a shift in the ecological niche of a deep diving predator. Ecography, 33(4):709-719. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2009.06034.x

[bio] Bailleul, F., Cotte, C., and Guinet, C., 2010. Mesoscale eddies as foraging area of a deep-diving predator, the southern elephant seal. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 408:251-264.

 [bio] Biuw, M. Nøst, Ø.A., Stien, A., Zhou, Q., Lydersen, C. and Kovacs, K.M. 2010. Effects of hydrographic variability on the spatial, seasonal and diel diving patterns of southern elephant seals in the eastern Weddell Sea. PLosOne 5(11): 114 (e13816).

[MEOP] Boehme L., and Co-Authors, 2010. “Biologging in the Global Ocean Observing System” in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sus- tained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall J., Harrison D.E. and Stammer D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.06 (PDF)

[MEOP] Charrassin J.-B., and Co-Authors, 2010. “New Insights Into Southern Ocean Physical and Biological Processes Revealed by Instrumented Elephant Seals” in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall J., Harrison D.E. and Stammer D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP- 306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.15 [PDF]

[ocean] Claustre H. and co-authors, 2010. Guidelines towards an integrated ocean observation system for ecosystem and biogeochemical cycles. In Proceedings of the “OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society” Conference (Vol. 1), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harri-son D.E. and Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306.

[tech] Costa, D. P., Robinson, P. W., Arnould, J. P. Y., Harrison, A.-L., Simmons, S. E., Hassrick, J. L., Hoskins, A. J., Kirkman, S. P., Oosthuizen, H., Villegas-Amtmann, S., and Crocker, D. E., 2010. Accuracy of ARGOS Locations of Pinnipeds at-Sea Estimated Using Fastloc GPS. PLoS ONE, 5:e8677.

[bio] Dragon, A.-C., Monestiez, P., Bar-Hen, A., and Guinet, C., 2010. Linking foraging behaviour to physical oceanographic structures: Southern elephant seals and mesoscale eddies east of Kerguelen Islands. Progress in Oceanography, 87:61-71.

[ocean] Laidre, K. L., Heide-Jørgensen, M. P., Ermold, W., and Steele, M., 2010. Narwhals document continued warming of southern Baffin Bay. J. Geophys. Res., 115.

[ocean] Mazloff, M. R., Heimbach, P., and Wunsch, C., 2010. An Eddy-Permitting Southern Ocean State Estimate. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 40:880-899.

[ocean] Padman, L., Costa, D. P., Bolmer, S. T., Goebel, M. E., Huckstadt, L. A., Jenkins, A., McDonald, B. I., and Shoosmith, D. R., 2010. Seals map bathymetry of the Antarctic continental shelf. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37.

[ocean] Straneo, F., Hamilton, G. S., Sutherland, D. A., Stearns, L. A., Davidson, F., Hammill, M. O., Stenson, G. B., and Rosing-Asvid, A., 2010. Rapid circulation of warm subtropical waters in a major glacial fjord in East Greenland. Nature Geosci, 3:182-186.[PDF]