Help Team Ellie continue Research of Northern Elephant Seals!
Northern Elephant Seal breeding season begins this coming winter and many members of the Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo community have found themselves driving up Highway 1 to San Simeon to observe these seals in their natural habitat for years. In 2017, Dr. Heather Liwanag of the Biological Sciences Department and PI of the Vertebrate Integrative Physiology (VIP) Lab at Cal Poly founded Team Ellie, the first research team ever to formally study the northern elephant seal population at Piedras Blancas. The long-term goal of this research is to better understand our local seal population by studying the ecology and behavior of Central Coast's northern elephant seal population.
Despite the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduate and undergraduate students of Team Ellie have been working tirelessly to continue the research that began in 2017. By tracking the elephant seal population, weighing and studying the pups, and tagging individual seals to monitor over their lifetimes, Team Ellie is not only pioneering research on the northern elephant seal population but also providing students with essential field work and a learn by doing experience that would be difficult to obtain anywhere else.
Gifts will help us purchase important supplies such as binoculars, gloves and shears as well as cover travel expenses to and from San Simeon. Help us continue our field research on Central Coast's marine mammals!