WhaleNet Reports
"Bubba"
Hooded Seal

Harbor Seal

Satellite Tagging Observation Reports

by
Greg Early
Edgerton Research Laboratory
New England Aquarium


Name- "Bubba"
Data Seal Tag

5/25/00 - Well, as if you needed proof, here is proof that I should never pretend to know what is going on. It would appear that I wrote off "Bubba" a bit too soon. After three days with no signal we began to receive locations again. While the interruption might be due to low power in the tag, this might have been due to weather or some other problem that blocked signals from the tag. In any case, we have several more days of information to report. When we left "Bubba" he was nearing the edge of a deep water channel at the mouth of the Gulf of St.Lawrence (the Laurentian Channel). It appears that once "Bubba" reached the deep water drop off, he turned to the north west and began to follow the edge of the channel in the general direction of the mouth of the Gulf. Keep your fingers crossed that the tag will hold out for a bit longer, so we can see what he will be doing next.

5/22/00 - It looks like this may be the last set of data from "Bubba". We received no messages from the tag over the weekend. Generally when we loose a signal it can be one of three possibilities, failure of the tag attaintment, failure of the tag, or "failure" of the seal. In this case we have been expecting "Bubbas" tag to run out of power soon, so the most likely possibility is that the tag has exhausted its batteries. To be sure, we generally wait for a few days to see it transmissions start up again, however "Bubba" has been so regular in sending signals, that this is the longest we have gone without a transmission. These last messages put "bubba" near the deep water at the mouth of the Gulf of St.Lawrence. He has remained in the same general area for about a week now, although he has continued to move slowly north and east.

In all we have received over a thousand transmissions from "Bubba" (making this one of our most detailed data sets). Even when eliminating "bad points" we have a working data set of over 800 points. If this is the last transmission it will mean that the tag transmitted for 155 days. A quick calculation shows that "Bubba" probably traveled about 3,500 miles during that time. Although this sounds like a great distance , it is quite a bit less than other hooded seals we have tracked. "Bubba" proved to be quite unusual in the amount of time he spent in one area, and the number of times he came ashore in the four months we have been tracking him.

June is the month hooded seals molt, and in June we expect "Bubba" to shed his hair and the transmitter that was attached to it.

Stay tuned...there are more seals to come...

5/18/00 - No the tag has not been lost...and "bubba" is still (cross you fingers) sending signals. Below is a long list of locations that we have gotten in the past two weeks. Interestingly, although "Bubba" has continued to move slowly north and east, he is still south of Newfoundland and for the past ten days or so has be circling in a location about 130 miles north east of Sable Island. He is roughly 15 miles south of the deep water "gully" at the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Hopefully the tag (which is getting close to the end of battery life) will keep going long enough to see what he does over this deep but productive part of the ocean. Meanwhile "Bubba" has given us over three months of some of the best tracking of a hooded seal we have had. His data set of locations is the largest and most accurate we have, so far (over 1200 location points).

5/1/00 - More data from "Bubba". It appears that he has been moving slowly north and is about thirty miles north of his last position. This puts him east of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The tag has been transmitting now, since early February and is starting to near the end of battery life. We have no way to know the exact time we will loose transmission, however I am hoping to get signals through the end of this month...


Reports:February / March / April


Bubba 1
  • "Bubba" Satellite Chart A
    Closer view of release.
  • Bubba and..
    (Click on an image to enlarge)


    More seal data is available in the current WhaleNet Listserv. Sort and go to FIND for "Seal Data", "Bubba" entries.
    Map of "Bubba's" travels.

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