(CNN)Known as the Earth's "thermostat," Antarctica plays a vital role in regulating the planet's complex climate system.
Scientists are investigating how environmental changes in Antarctica will impact the rest of the world, but the continent's remote location and hostile climate, with winter temperatures that plummet to well below -100°F, make it an incredibly challenging environment for humans.
That's why a team from the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, in Scotland, enlisted the help of some of Antarctica's permanent residents: seals.
The furry, aquatic mammals thrive year-round in the freezing climate and can dive up to 3,000 feet below the water's surface says Lars Boehme, an oceanographer and one of the project's leaders.
By fitting the seals with sensors, the researchers gain insight into the seals habits and ecology, while also gathering data from inaccessible parts of the ocean.
Scientists around the world are now drawing on this data to learn more about the Antarctic environment and how it could impact climate chang