Century-old seal pelts reveal changes in Ross Sea ecosystem

When scientists at McMurdo Station in Antarctica have time off from their field work, they often pay a visit to three nearby wooden huts built in the early 1900s by Antarctic explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott. That’s what UC Santa Cruz biologists Daniel Costa and Luis Huckstadt were doing on a day off from studying Weddell seals when they realized that a pile of frozen pelts in one of the huts represented samples of Weddell seal tissue from more than 100 years ago, at the very start of human activities in Antarctica.