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medea
Jul 23, 2003, 07:59 PM
A marine biologist at the British Antarctic Survey has been killed by a seal, the first death of a BAS scientist on the icebound continent in 21 years, the organization said on Wednesday.
It said 28-year-old Kirsty Margot Brown was snorkeling near the BAS base at Rothera on the Antarctic Peninsular on Tuesday as part of her research into the effects of icebergs on inshore marine life when the leopard seal attacked and dragged her down.
Scientists accompanying her eventually managed to pull her from the water, but all attempts to revive her failed.
"This is tragic and shocking. Kirsty was a vibrant, dynamic individual committed to her science and with a promising scientific career ahead of her," BAS director Chris Rapley said in a statement, adding that her family in West Sussex, England had been told.
The BAS, which is based at Cambridge, north east of London, said Brown was an experienced cold seas diver who joined the organization on a 30-month contract in 2002.
It said that while leopard seals were inquisitive, it was rare for them to attack humans.

http://channels.netscape.com/ns/news/story.jsp?floc=FF-RTO-PLS&idq=/ff/story/0002/20030723/102021350.htm

rainman::|:|
Jul 23, 2003, 08:14 PM
...

well that's certainly one thing i hadn't expected to happen in the world today...

pnw

Capt Underpants
Jul 23, 2003, 08:18 PM
Whoa. That's pretty freaky. I wonder what she did to make the seal mad, or if the seal just went off. Maybe the purple polar bear can eat that mean old seal for dinner!

bennetsaysargh
Jul 23, 2003, 08:45 PM
that's another sad thing that i heard about today. today is very depressing overall.

strider42
Jul 23, 2003, 08:54 PM
Originally posted by Capt Underpants
Whoa. That's pretty freaky. I wonder what she did to make the seal mad, or if the seal just went off. Maybe the purple polar bear can eat that mean old seal for dinner!

Probably wouldn't have to do much. leopard seals are large and predatory. Seals look cute but a number of them could seriously hurt people.

rainman::|:|
Jul 23, 2003, 08:58 PM
Originally posted by strider42
Probably wouldn't have to do much. leopard seals are large and predatory. Seals look cute but a number of them could seriously hurt people.

like koalas, from what i understand those cute cuddly bastards will tear your throat open if you give 'em half a chance... but then i don't know that much about em, perhaps someone like mac15 would know a little better :)

pnw

uhlawboi80
Jul 23, 2003, 09:47 PM
thats horrible. that had ot be a terrifying way to die. though it sounds like she was just pulled under the surface by the seal and kept there till she drowned, not mauled by the thing. Which in my mind begs the question....where was her emergency tank? i was always trained that even when snorkeling in the ocean you are always to keep a small emergency air tank with you, just like when scuba diving. wonder if she had one and couldnt get it or she ignored usual safety measures (common when you get so used to your routine).

a tragedy all the same.

beez7777
Jul 23, 2003, 09:57 PM
lol, when i first saw the title of this thread, i thought it was referring to that singer named Seal. i don't know why, but it's probably because it's late and i'm exhausted.

jbomber
Jul 23, 2003, 10:49 PM
if i've said it once, i've said it a thousand times. them seals are evil - through and through.

Mr. Anderson
Jul 24, 2003, 10:28 AM
Found this this morning - its about another dive several months ago - and they had a seal encounter then as well....

http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/Living_and_Working/Diaries/Rothera/2003/April/apr_diving/

talk about spooky....

D

iJon
Jul 24, 2003, 11:52 AM
they should carry little trank or harpoon guns with them. with all those polar bears and stuff out there, id make sure i would have something.

iJon

Mr. Anderson
Jul 24, 2003, 12:08 PM
Originally posted by iJon
they should carry little trank or harpoon guns with them. with all those polar bears and stuff out there, id make sure i would have something.


Ah, no polar bears in the antarctic - sea lions are on top end of the food chain. The only things eating them are the Orcas....

Its a strange place, I would love to go there and almost went when I was in school - but I decided not to delay my graduation a year. :D

D

iJon
Jul 24, 2003, 12:47 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
Ah, no polar bears in the antarctic - sea lions are on top end of the food chain. The only things eating them are the Orcas....

Its a strange place, I would love to go there and almost went when I was in school - but I decided not to delay my graduation a year. :D

D
ah ok, i didnt know, i just assumed all that snow and creatures and that guy being the few out there. i know i would want something. it would be an adventure to go there, i wonder how much to you have to pay for someone to take you there.

iJon

bennetsaysargh
Jul 24, 2003, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
Ah, no polar bears in the antarctic - sea lions are on top end of the food chain. The only things eating them are the Orcas....

Its a strange place, I would love to go there and almost went when I was in school - but I decided not to delay my graduation a year. :D

D
do you remember how much it would have cost? and how you would have gotten down there?

Mr. Anderson
Jul 24, 2003, 12:57 PM
It was going to be with NASA and the base down their - I would have been doing some icesheet/glacier surveying and geophysics research.

Cost? Free and I'd have been there 3 months ;)

D

bennetsaysargh
Jul 24, 2003, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
It was going to be with NASA and the base down their - I would have been doing some icesheet/glacier surveying and geophysics research.

Cost? Free and I'd have been there 3 months ;)

D

that
's really cool. 3 months? that would be the adventure of a lifetime. i would have gone, especially if it's free.

Mr. Anderson
Jul 24, 2003, 01:16 PM
I had just spent the summer on the icesheet in Greenland and would have had to withdraw from classes in order to go from November to January. It would have been cool, but by staying in school I graduated in March. Believe me, it was a tough call, but it wasn't something that was in my field of expertise, so I really didn't have much choice. :(

There are some regrets, but you know, if I had gone, I probably wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. What ifs are always intriguing ;)

D

bennetsaysargh
Jul 24, 2003, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
I had just spent the summer on the icesheet in Greenland and would have had to withdraw from classes in order to go from November to January. It would have been cool, but by staying in school I graduated in March. Believe me, it was a tough call, but it wasn't something that was in my field of expertise, so I really didn't have much choice. :(

There are some regrets, but you know, if I had gone, I probably wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. What ifs are always intriguing ;)

D

well, now i see why you didn't go. i could have gone to italy for a summer, but money was part of the issue, and this was of course after 9/11, so my mom didn't want me going. i would have just ben a tourist, but i still would have loved to go.

MacFan25
Jul 24, 2003, 02:40 PM
That is pretty odd. I never knew that seals would do something like that. :(

jayscheuerle
Jul 24, 2003, 02:50 PM
The Navy's had killer Seals for decades...

applemacdude
Jul 24, 2003, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
Found this this morning - its about another dive several months ago - and they had a seal encounter then as well....

http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/Living_and_Working/Diaries/Rothera/2003/April/apr_diving/

talk about spooky....

D

Maybe its the same seal:)

Mr. Anderson
Jul 24, 2003, 10:21 PM
No, different seals, the one that killed her was a leopard seal, the one they saw earlier was a fur seal...

But humans are relatively new to the wildlife down there. In most cases you can walk up to some, penguins for instance.

D

medea
Jul 24, 2003, 10:40 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
No, different seals, the one that killed her was a leopard seal, the one they saw earlier was a fur seal...

But humans are relatively new to the wildlife down there. In most cases you can walk up to some, penguins for instance.

D
Let's hope that never changes, the humans being unknown to most wildlife there that is.

Wardofsky
Jul 25, 2003, 06:05 AM
It's a life that has gone, and doing for science to get a better understanding of, is it the environment, but I still can't side.

I've never really thought a Seal to be that dangerous before and I s'pose I'll treat them with respect.

[edit]I was tired last night so understand why it wouldn't really make sense.

Mr. Anderson
Jul 25, 2003, 07:28 AM
I never said anything about being tame seals and penquins - its just that they don't perceive humans as threats - that's totally different.

And what's with the attempt at philosophy?;) I think I understand what you're getting at - but its sort of like quantum physics and Schrodingers Cat in a box experiment...

D

wdlove
Jul 25, 2003, 11:23 AM
I'm very sad to hear about this loss of life. My prayers go out to her family and friends. It just gives us a reminder of just how dangerous it is explor. Wild animals are always unpredictable! :(

Wardofsky
Jul 25, 2003, 05:19 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
And what's with the attempt at philosophy?;) I think I understand what you're getting at - but its sort of like quantum physics and Schrodingers Cat in a box experiment...

D

Never mind what I said, I was tired (Clunes work) and not really thinking.

I might edit it or delete it to something that makes sense, I'm not sure why I posted that.

ScaredAmoeba
Sep 3, 2007, 12:27 AM
Whoa. That's pretty freaky. I wonder what she did to make the seal mad, or if the seal just went off. Maybe the purple polar bear can eat that mean old seal for dinner!

I'm not sure if you were joking, but I will assume you were not.

Polar bears inhabit the Arctic, not the Antarctic.

Leopard Seals are one of the top predators in the Antarctic. It was probably hunting her, prior to the attack.

Abstract
Sep 3, 2007, 12:35 AM
The Navy's had killer Seals for decades...

With lasers strapped to their heads.

Gymnut
Sep 3, 2007, 12:45 AM
Watching the Discovery channel, I've seen those Leopard seals and they're pretty agile for their large size. They primarily hang around the icepacks, ambushing emperor penguins that are returning or leaving. While inquisitive, I'd never get in the water with one.

devilot
Sep 3, 2007, 12:47 AM
...Impressive thread resurrection especially considering that this is your first post. The OP's from 2003. :confused:

ScaredAmoeba
Sep 3, 2007, 01:13 AM
A marine biologist at the British Antarctic Survey has been killed by a seal, the first death of a BAS scientist on the icebound continent in 21 years, the organization said on Wednesday.
It said 28-year-old Kirsty Margot Brown was snorkeling near the BAS base at Rothera on the Antarctic Peninsular on Tuesday as part of her research into the effects of icebergs on inshore marine life when the leopard seal attacked and dragged her down.
http://channels.netscape.com/ns/news/story.jsp?floc=FF-RTO-PLS&idq=/ff/story/0002/20030723/102021350.htm

Leopard seals are predators, eating a wide range of prey including penguins, crabeater, Weddell and fur seals.

It seems not too much of an assumption that this scientist was wearing a dry-suit, because of the cold. Perhaps the dry-suit was dark, red or even black.

Can Leopard seals see colour?
They can dive for ~ 15 minutes but do not dive deep - where light levels are low.

Since they live in the polar seas they have to hunt in the dark / low light during the polar winter, they may have monochrome vision.

If they have limited colour perception, it will probably biased towards the blue / green portion of the spectrum, because of differential spectral absorption by seawater. If they have blue / green vision, a red dry-suit would appear dark grey or black.

Perhaps she was mistaken for a seal? Probably she was attacked from behind.

Not a nice way to go!

My condolences to her friends, colleagues and family. Not that they are likely to read this.

Re Tame Penguins and humans
There are no predators on the ice in the Antarctic.
In the Antarctic, the danger is in the water!

mcarnes
Sep 3, 2007, 01:51 AM
Impressive thread resurrection especially considering that this is your first post. The OP's from 2003. :confused:

Hey, this might be old news but you never can tell when a killer seal might take a bite out of your ass. Better the public is kept informed.

Iscariot
Sep 3, 2007, 10:14 PM
Humans are an incredibly fragile species when taken out of their element. I'm surprised we see as few accidents as we do when we're interacting with wildlife in such unfamiliar surroundings. Chalk one up to solid planning and other animals' instinctive fear of the unknown.

My heart goes out to her family, even if this is very old news.