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Expedition Antarctica: winter results and summer preparations

Gepubliceerd op
30 september 2014

The first results of the expedition to Antarctica last year, were presented at the SCAR conference in New Zealand. Meanwhile, the first preparations for the upcoming Antarctic expedition have been made.

Photo: Carmen David en Fokje Schaafsma are ready to fish with SUIT during the 2013 winter expedition.

IMARES researchers went on a winter expedition to the Weddell Sea in August to October 2013. During this expedition under ice fauna was sampled with the Surface and Under Ice Trawl (SUIT) as part of project Iceflux-NL, which aims at investigating how polar ecosystems and the life within them are affected by changes in sea ice. The first results of this expedition were presented at the conference of the Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research (SCAR).

Worldwide research on Antarctica: SCAR

SCAR aims to stimulate and coordinate research on Antarctica. They also advise several parties that are responsible for the management and conservation of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The biennial SCAR conference took place from the 25th until the 28th of August in Auckland, New-Zealand. Here, scientists from all over the world presented their work in the Antarctic. A wide variety of topics were included, from snow and ice to atmosphere, from mosses to seals.

Presentation research on krill and other fauna

Fokje Schaafsma

IMARES PhD student Fokje Schaafsma presented results on the distribution and the diet of krill under sea ice: "Population dynamics of Antarctic krill in winter/early spring". These results will give us more insights in how krill utilized the sea-ice environment as habitat and how important the algae in the ice are in the krill’s diet. This information is necessary for the management of krill stocks.

The distribution of krill of different developmental stages in the research area of the winter expedition 2013. FIV – FVI represent larval stages. Apart from that the catch included juveniles (Juv) and sub-adults (Sub-ad). Grey area’s on the map represent ice cover.
The distribution of krill of different developmental stages in the research area of the winter expedition 2013. FIV – FVI represent larval stages. Apart from that the catch included juveniles (Juv) and sub-adults (Sub-ad). Grey area’s on the map represent ice cover.

'ceflux' colleague Carmen David from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany, showed abundance and distribution of the under ice fauna on her poster and won one of the Best Poster Awards. 

Preparations next Antarctic expedition

Two containers with equipment for the upcoming Antarctica expedition are ready to go on Texel.
Two containers with equipment for the upcoming Antarctica expedition are ready to go on Texel.

Although everyone is still busy analysing data and describing results of the last winter expedition, preparations for the next research voyage have already been made. This expedition will take place from the 2nd of December 2014 until the 1st of Februari 2015. Along with ice net SUIT, work clothing, lab equipment, tools and of course the “stroopwafels” are packed into the containers, which have left for Bremerhaven. There, they will be lifted on board RV “Polarstern” and continue their journey to Cape Town.

Summer expedition Antarctica

The fact that the upcoming expedition will take place in summer has nothing to do with the researchers thinking the winter is too cold. By sampling in different seasons they hope to get an idea of the differences in use of sea-ice as a habitat by different organisms. Beside ice fishing with SUIT, birds and mammals counts will also be carried out again.