Major Antarctic study to begin next year

December 7, 2005

Sixty-two Australian researchers will spend 10 weeks next year sampling and surveying the Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica.

The scientists -- from the Australian Antarctic Division and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center -- will, among other tasks, estimate the number of krill in the ocean and compare visual observations of whales with acoustical observations, said study leader Steve Nicol.

"So when all this is finished we will have a third of the Antarctic surveyed and we'll have a complete picture of everything from the oceanography right the way through to the whales, (giving) us a really good idea of how the entire system works," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Krill researcher Dr. Toby Jarvis said the tiny shrimp-like crustaceans are a vital food source in the Southern Ocean, but the number and distribution of krill is not known.

An echo sounder trailed behind the expedition's ship will be used to collect information, rather than towing a net.

"Krill provide sound echoes and it gives us a way of measuring with a much higher degree of resolution, where these krill are and how many there are," Jarvis told the ABC.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers identify new NZ fossil whale species

Related Stories

Researchers identify new NZ fossil whale species

September 11, 2015

University of Otago palaeontology researchers are continuing to rewrite the history of New Zealand's ancient whales by describing two further genera and three species of fossil baleen whales.

Melting glaciers feed Antarctic food chain

August 11, 2015

Nutrient-rich water from melting Antarctic glaciers nourishes the ocean food chain, creating feeding "hot spots" in large gaps in the sea ice, according to a new study.

Antarctic krill help to fertilize Southern Ocean with iron

July 4, 2011

A new discovery reveals that the shrimp-like creature at the heart of the Antarctic food chain could play a key role in fertilising the Southern Ocean with iron – stimulating the growth of phytoplankton (microscopic ...

Japan aquarium shows mysterious clear-blood fish

April 5, 2013

The deep oceans have yielded many mysteries that have puzzled people for centuries, from the giant squid to huge jellyfish that look like UFOs. To that list add a fish with totally transparent blood.

Antarctic sea ice thickness affects algae populations

December 18, 2012

In the waters off Antarctica, algae grow and live in the sea ice that surrounds the southern continent-a floating habitat sure to change as the planet warms. As with most aquatic ecosystems, microscopic algae form the base ...

Antarctic krill provide carbon sink in Southern Ocean

February 6, 2006

New research on Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), a shrimp-like animal at the heart of the Southern Ocean food chain, reveals behaviour that shows that they absorb and transfer more carbon from the Earth’s surface than ...

Recommended for you

The hand and foot of Homo naledi

October 6, 2015

The second set of papers related to the remarkable discovery of Homo naledi, a new species of human relative, have been published in scientific journal, Nature Communications, on Tuesday, 6 October 2015.

New surfaces delay ice formation

October 6, 2015

If you've ever waited on an airport runway for your plane to be de-iced, had to remove all your food so the freezer could defrost, or arrived late to work because you had to scrape the sheet of ice off your car windshield, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.