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:
- Determine factors influencing the abundance and distribution of humpback whales around the Balleny Islands.
- Locate and study blue whale foraging 'hotspots' in the northern Ross Sea.
- 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.
- Deploy a moored echosounder in Terra Nova Bay to study Antarctic silverfish spawning during winter.
- 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.