Have you ever been by yourself and needed to get something off a high shelf, but couldn’t reach? Now imagine you had your whole class with you. It’s likely that someone in your class could reach the high shelf.
Variability in traits (and behaviors) is a good thing. It means that groups of organisms can adjust and survive when environments change. We know that animals living at the North and South Poles, especially large predators, are in danger because of the changing climate. We wanted to look at variability in the traits and behaviors of polar predators to assess how they will adapt to climate change.
We tagged and studied a population of leopard seals in Antarctica. We looked at their morphology, movement patterns, and diving behavior. We found lots of variability in these traits in the leopard seal population, especially between males and females. We think this high variability may help leopard seals survive better in the changing Antarctic environment.