2015 - Antarctic Ecosystems

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 focused 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. 

Read the media release from the conclusion of the voyage

View an album of videos from the voyage 

New Zealand-Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage highlights

Voyage blog

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    Voyage overview

    Read details about the aims of the voyage and find information about the scientists and crew on board.
  • The science

    Read about the science that will be undertaken during the voyage.
  • News about the Antarctic voyage

    Access information about the voyage, media releases, key contacts and dates, images and videos.
  • Image gallery

    A selection of images relating to the New Zealand-Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage. We will be adding images from the voyage as they are sent back from the vessel.
  • Partners and funding

    Read about our key partnerships and funding for this voyage.