Año Nuevo Island Reserve Videos

How elephant seals help scientists explore the deep sea, Mission Wild

At first glance, elephant seals may seem like slothful creatures content to laze about. But time on the shore (where they can move as fast as humans can run) is only a small part of their story. Elephant seals are natural deep-sea explorers, and their ability to swim thousands of miles out—and a mile deep—into the ocean makes them tremendous research collaborators. In this episode, of “Mission Wild,” host Wes Larson joins Rachel Holser and her team from the University of California, Santa Cruz as they tag a 1,000-pound elephant seal amidst a crew of wild and unruly onlookers.

A day in the life of seal researchers, UC Santa Cruz

Reserve director Patrick Robinson and postdoctoral fellow Roxanne Beltran voyage to Año Nuevo Island.

Up Close to Elephant Seals Fighting

Steve Backshall gets close to a fight between two giant Elephant Seals. One will become beach master and one will have to return to the water.

Año Nuevo Island tour, Patrick Robinson

Curious about the ruined light keeper’s residence, the historic fog station, and other structures on Año Nuevo Island? Take a tour of the island’s buildings courtesy reserve director Patrick Robinson.

Talking with elephant seals, UC Santa Cruz

Confrontations between male northern elephant seals competing for access to females during the breeding season can lead to violent physical fights, but more often involve ritualized displays and vocalizations. UC Santa Cruz researchers combined observational and experimental approaches to determine what kind of information is encoded within the vocalizations of male elephant seals.

Elephant seal research mission!, Brave Wilderness

Coyote Petersen of Breaking Trail meets the northern elephant seals of Año Nuevo Island Reserve. Reserve director Patrick Robinson describes the research uncovering the amazing capabilities of these remarkable animals.

Designing Ecology with Año Nuevo Island, ENGAGE at CCA

Art students at CCA design ceramic nest burrows for the rhinoceros auklet colony at Año Nuevo Island.

Tagging Elephant Seals, OneOcean

Ecologist Daniel Costa explains how elephant seals at Año Nuevo Island Reserve are tagged with data loggers that reveal how marine mammals make a living in the ocean.

Why I do science: Dan Costa, KQED QUEST

Professor Dan Costa is a marine biologist at UC Santa Cruz. For more than 35 years, he has studied marine animals such as elephant seals at Año Nuevo Island Reserve, penguins in the Antarctic, and albatrosses in the Southern Ocean. Find out why he loves his job and the exotic places he’s traveled to study these remarkable animals in their native environments.

Tagging Northern Elephant Seals, TOPPS

By attaching satellite tags to northern elephant seals that come ashore at Año Nuevo Island Reserve, Professor Dan Costa of UC Santa Cruz is able to track how far these animals migrate at sea, when they dive, how deep they dive. At the same time, he can learn about oceanographic conditions far offshore more efficiently than with expensive research ships.