Seal With a Kiss

A Weddell seal pokes its nose through the Antarctic ice to get a breath of air.

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Weddell seal
Peter West, National Science Foundation

A Weddell seal breathes through a hole in the sea ice of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. The holes are accessible through panels in the floorboards of huts at "Penguin Ranch," a field camp where National Science Foundation-funded researcher Paul Ponganis and his team study the physiology of Emperor Penguins. Fairly loud snorts of inhalations and exhalations signal the animals’ presence under the floors, where they come and go at will. Occasionally, a Weddell brings its favorite dinner: an Antarctic toothfish.

This report is provided by the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, in partnership with U.S. News and World Report.