Featuring research teams currently on the Gough Island takeover expedition.
During the annual Gough Island takeover (relief) expedition, the S.A. Agulhas II delivers passengers and cargo to Tristan da Cunha Island, which is 350 kilometers from Gough Island. Additionally, several researchers are given the chance to carry out their research at Tristan da Cunha during the relief period for Gough Island.
Prof Marthán Bester, semi-retired, Emeritus Professor and senior Research Fellow of the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria, is currently on the Tristan da Cunha to conduct field research on Subantarctic fur seals.
Find our more below about this project and prospects for the takeover period.
|TEAM||Tristan Mammal Research|
|Project Name||Subantarctic Fur Seals at the Tristan da Cunha Islands, South Atlantic Ocean|
|Principal Investigator||Prof Marthán Bester||University of Pretoria|
|Co-Principal Investigator||Prof Nico de Bruyn||University of Pretoria|
|Co-Principal Investigator||Dr Mia Wege||University of Pretoria|
|Co-Principal Investigator||Mr. Trevor Glass||Tristan Conservation Department Head|
The history of fur seal research on Tristan da Cunha
Fur seal research at the Tristan da Cunha (TdC) Islands started during the 1970s (1974–1978). In its present form, the research continues through a next phase (2009–2019), and beyond.
The fur seals breed and rest on the islands, and they feed at sea. The research team aims to determine (1) what the seals feed on when they are away during feeding trips, (2) how well the pups, which remain on land, grow on a diet of milk which they suck from their mothers when these return to land after each feeding trip, and (3) how far away from the island, and for how long, do the mothers of the fur seal pups have to remain at sea on each feeding trip to be able to sustain their pups until weaning.
For more information visit about Subantarctic fur seals, click on the link below.
This project is funded by: The National Research Foundation (NRF-SANAP), The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Tristan da Cunha Conservation Department (TdC Conservation Department).
Update posted by the Tristan Conservation Department (on Facebook, 09 October 2023):
“The weather has been very nice last week. The conservation team and professor Martian Bester managed to go to the caves to do seal work with the seal pups. It was a great success as they managed to weigh fifty pups. Martian has been working with the conservation department for fourty nine years but sadly this is his last year working with the conservation team as he is retiring”
Project information and feature image supplied by Prof Marthán Bester.
Anche Louw, South African Polar Research Infrastructure, 03 October 2023, updated on 10 October 2023.