Researchers have developed a camera system designed specifically to map the surface topography of Arctic sea ice.
Using data collected from a two-month expedition in the Arctic, the University of Delaware (UD) research team is reconstructing polar ice floes in 3D. They used data collected from three cameras–installed directly on the German research vessel Polarstern–two of which worked like human eyes. The reconstruction will help the team identify ideal walrus habitats.
Walrus require sea ice for reproduction, migration and resting habitat. As sea ice melts and continues to recede, walrus are facing increasing danger. They travel slowly on land and if the ice floes are too large, they may become prey for polar bears; if the floes are too small, the ice will not support them.
“Without good metric data about ice floes and sea ice thickness, among other things, we can’t really classify habitat,” explained Scott Sorensen, a doctoral student at UD.
According to Kambhamettu, the data could be used for additional purposes:
- used as a database of habitat information to be used by other scientists
- provide others with information about polar regions and the difficulties faced by local wildlife
- provide insight on the dangers of opening transoceanic shipping lanes where sea ice has melted
To learn more:
- Check out this article from UDaily: ‘House Hunters Walrus’
- Watch the following video from UD
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.