Prime Minister Helen Clark last night launched a major New Zealand scientific voyage to Antarctica as part of the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) and International Polar Year (IPY).

Twenty-six scientists and 18 crew will leave this week on the eight-week voyage aboard RV Tangaroa.

The voyage aims to conduct a major biological survey of the Ross Sea to find out what makes the marine environment tick. Scientists will explore a variety of life forms living at the sea-surface to the sea-bed and will sample and film the seabed at depths of UP TO 4000m, in areas not previously explored.

The data captured will provide baseline information from the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea environment that can be used to help monitor the effects of climate change in the Ross Sea region.

The project is a major collaboration between the Ministry of Fisheries, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Antarctica New Zealand, Te Papa, the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and New Zealand universities.


Prime Minister’s press statement

The IPY-CAML project

Science Learning Hub

Alan Blacklock
Rt Hon Helen Clark on Tangaroa. [Alan Blacklock]