New Zealand-Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage
The six-week New Zealand-Antarctic Ecosystem Voyage saw RV Tangaroa travel through the Southern Ocean to the Ross Sea to conduct a range of scientific fieldwork. The voyage was a collaboration between Antarctica New Zealand, NIWA and the Australian Antarctic Division.
Research focussed on the feeding areas of cetaceans, primarily blue whales and humpback whales, to better understand factors affecting their numbers and distribution. Work was also undertaken in the Ross Sea Slope area to explore any ecosystem effects of commercial toothfish fishing.
Whales were located using underwater listening technology called 'passive acoustics' and visual observations. Observations of prey species were also made using multifrequency echosounders onboard Tangaroa, along with mesopelagic (midwater) and demersal (seabed) trawling.
Special equipment was installed in Terra Nova Bay to record the winter spawning activities of Antarctic silverfish - a key species in the Antarctic marine foodweb.
Throughout the voyage, continuous measurements of atmosphere and ocean were made - contributing vital data to the global drive for improved weather forecasts and climate change predictions. This voyage arrived back in Wellington on 11th March 2015.