Major Antarctic study to begin next year

Dec 07, 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: Mysteries of space dust revealed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Minke whales lunge 100 times per hour to feed under sea ice

Aug 13, 2014

Highly manoeuvrable and built like torpedoes, minke whales are the most common whales in Antarctic waters, yet the animals could be living on a knife edge as their sea-ice homes dwindle rapidly. 'Sea ice in the area around ...

Study finds Emperor penguin in peril

Jun 29, 2014

An international team of scientists studying Emperor penguin populations across Antarctica finds the iconic animals in danger of dramatic declines by the end of the century due to climate change. Their study, ...

Recommended for you

Mysteries of space dust revealed

6 hours ago

The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the ...

A guide to the 2014 Neptune opposition season

11 hours ago

Never seen Neptune? Now is a good time to try, as the outermost ice giant world reaches opposition this weekend at 14:00 Universal Time (UT) or 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 29th. This means that the distant ...

How can we find tiny particles in exoplanet atmospheres?

12 hours ago

It may seem like magic, but astronomers have worked out a scheme that will allow them to detect and measure particles ten times smaller than the width of a human hair, even at many light-years distance.  ...

Spitzer telescope witnesses asteroid smashup

Aug 28, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the ...

User comments : 0