Updated blogs and videos for this cruise are posted here!
As part of the US AMLR Program’s support for IPY, AMLR researcher Christopher Jones participated on an eight-week voyage into the Ross Sea. The Ross Sea IPY Survey was an international effort, with collaborators from New Zealand, Italy, Canada, Australia and the United States (via the US AMLR Program). The overall objectives of the survey were to measure and describe key elements of species distribution, abundance (density), and biodiversity for the Ross Sea portion of the Southern Ocean. Ultimately, the information gained from this survey will be used to assist in monitoring impacts of climate change for this region.
The entire survey (including transit time) took eight weeks, from January 26 through March 22, 2008. As time transitions from the austral summer to fall, the southern ice edge expands northward, preventing access to the southern most portions of the survey region. For this reason, the researchers began their survey effort far south and headed north as the weeks passed. New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric (NIWA) Research vessel R/V Tangaroa staged out of Wellington (New Zealand) and traveled six days before reaching the southern portion of the survey area. More than six weeks of survey effort were completed, with time spent collecting samples between 170° East and 165° West, spanning roughly 25° in longitude.
Sampling was conducted from the sea surface down to the seafloor, reaching depths of 4000m in some areas. Habitats sampled included water column, shelf, slope, seamounts and abyssal plain. The survey sample design is based on collection of key functional ecosystem components, including viruses, bacteria, archaea, phytoplankton, zooplankton, nekton, benthic fauna, fish, and top predators to assess the influence of environmental factors such as latitude, depth, sediment, and ice regime.
Sample collection gear deployed at each station included a CTD rosette, pelagic nets, photographic transects, a commercial-size bottom trawl, and benthic sampling devices. One benthic sampler that was used is the Benthic Invertebrate Trawl, aka “Little BIT”. The Little BIT was developed by AMLR Program researchers and debuted during the 2003 AMLR Program research survey in the South Shetland Islands off the Antarctic peninsula. Underway acoustic transects were also used to describe key mid-trophic level mesopelagic species assemblages (especially krill and Antarctic silverfish).
AMLR’s Christopher Jones was one of 26 principal investigators aboard the vessel, with a support crew of 18. Christopher’s area of expertise is finfish, and he focused on evaluating the spatial distribution, assemblages, density, and size structure of shelf and slope demersal finfish species.
Blogs from the cruise:
Videos from the cruise:
- Getting Started (quicktime movie)
- Videos provided by the Cousteau Society on YouTube.com: