The energetics of lactation in the Northern elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris

This is the first addition in a series of “Weird Places my Writing Research has Taken Me on the Internet,” or “Weird Writing Research” for short.

Today’s entry is an actual research article published in the Journal of Zoology, titled, “The energetics of lactation in the Northern elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris.” These dedicated 1986 researchers wanted to figure out how much weight mother elephant seals lost while fasting and nursing their pups. The answer was “a lot.” Maybe I should’ve posted this on Mother’s Day…

How does this relate to my writing? My in-progress anthropology/genetic engineering series, Alloland, follows a group of young sailors who follow ocean orca migrations from island to island. To make the story as accurate as possible, I wanted to know when orcas would have their annual migration: turns out there isn’t one. However, some of their prey animals, such as seals, so have scheduled annual migrations. So to figure out what season the main characters would be sailing in, I dug through the internet to try to figure out whether seals would be in rookeries with their pups in the summer or winter, and whether that would be near the equator in warm waters or the poles in cool waters. This article did not actually answer my question, because it’s stuck behind a paywall, but it does still count as a weird place my writing research took me on the Internet.

The things I do for my stories…


2 thoughts on “The energetics of lactation in the Northern elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris

  1. Heh. My own weird writing research includes:

    -The exact type of ejection seat used in a high-speed fighter aircraft.
    -Whether or not goats can see colors (apparently, they can)
    -The comparative pay of lumberjacks across different countries.

    (And more relevant stuff like how long it takes a big propeller plane to fly across the Atlantic.)

    Liked by 1 person

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