Seal scientists.

Science News reports on an Antarctic project that’s been hiring a crew of oceanographers who *really* feel at home in the water:

Seals, walruses, whales and other large marine creatures have moonlighted as oceanographers before. Scientists typically glue sensors to the animals’ bodies that measures factors like temperature and salinity. Researchers have used this information to study water temperatures around Greenland, among other topics.

But the new work is the first to extract information on the shape of the seafloor — known as bathymetry — from the sensors, which also measure pressure and hence depth. “You can actually map the ocean floor,” says team member Daniel Costa, a marine biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

You really need to see the picture at the link.

More geekily, what’s really interesting here isn’t using seals to collect data, but finding new ways to use data the seals were already collecting. Oh – you can make a map with that?