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Research Voyage to Antarctica

From February until mid-March 2008, New Zealand scientists embarked on an 8-week voyage to the Ross Sea to survey the marine environment and explore the variety of life forms (biodiversity) in the region.

They sailed on board New Zealand’s research vessel Tangaroa and collected samples of marine life that included viruses, bacteria, plankton, benthic fauna, cephalopods, fish and the prey of top predators such as seabirds and whales.

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With a biodiversity focus, the intention was to collect samples of living organisms from the sea floor to the sea surface, from microscopic to mega-size, across a wide range of environmental and geographic gradients. This included capturing images of the sea floor down to depths of 4,000 metres, in areas not explored before.

To understand how the ecosystem functions, studies of feeding patterns were carried out across as many biological groups as possible, to improve understanding about the ecosystem of the Ross Sea region.