Los Farallones

Dispatches from Point Blue’s field station on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Fantastic Find on the Farallones

On February 6th, one of the crew picked up a nondescript looking capsule and brought it back to the house. Upon further inspection, the team found it to be a camera with a working SD chip inside containing videos of swirling blue and purple lights amongst a dark background.

The timestamps on all of the video files were December of 2100, which naturally led the crew to joke about it being from space and the future, but they would later find it to be from a lot closer to home. As they watched more of the videos they started to see outlines of fish giving off bioluminescence (light production caused by a chemical reaction within the organism).  They also saw a flipper come into view that looked eerily familiar… an Elephant Seal Flipper!

With this information in hand they contacted the nearby breeding colonies to see if they knew who the camera belonged to. Success! Año Nuevo State Park actually worked with a team of researchers from the National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo, Japan and the University of California Santa Cruz to deploy these cameras for a prey capture study of the Northern Elephant Seals. The video data has since been sent to the team in Tokyo to be added to the current dataset. To see more footage and learn more about this study check out the link below!