The science

The main purpose of the New Zealand-Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage is to study Ross Sea marine foodwebs – particularly those important to top predators in the region.

There are five main objectives:

  1. Determine factors influencing the abundance and distribution of humpback whales around the Balleny Islands.
  2. Locate and study blue whale foraging 'hotspots' in the northern Ross Sea.
  3. Survey demersal (bottom-dwelling) fish species on the Ross Sea slope, particularly grenadiers and icefish, to better understand the ecological effects of commercial toothfish fishing in the region.
  4. Deploy a moored echosounder in Terra Nova Bay to study Antarctic silverfish spawning during winter.
  5. Collect oceanographic and atmospheric data from the Southern Ocean to enhance datasets used for validating global ocean and atmosphere models and improve understanding of ocean–atmosphere processes and interactions. 
CTD (conductivity, temperature and depth) instrument being lowered into the ocean. [Credit Dick Singleton]
Research subject: Antarctica