Environmental team on winter research voyage
23 July 2015
Pretoria - The Department of Environmental Affairs’ SA Agulhas II has embarked on a winter research expedition.
The team of researchers left on Wednesday evening to gather physical, biological and chemical oceanographic data.
The Department of Environmental Affairs has collaborated with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the National Research Foundation (NRF) and Council for Scientific Industrial and Research (CSIR) to embark on the research voyage, which is estimated to take 25 days out in the Southern Ocean.
“The expedition aims to fill a significant research void in the ocean and climate numerical models, which are unable to accurately simulate seasonal processes.
“The voyage provides a unique opportunity to map large-scale spatial patterns of phyto and zooplankton using the Continuous Plankton Recorder between the ice edge and Cape Town during winter,” the department said.
The department said the data obtained from the cruise, along with data obtained from other seasons, will contribute towards a more detailed description and understanding of spatial, seasonal, inter-annual and multi-decadal changes in community structure as well as abundance and distribution of plankton in the Southern Ocean.
The voyage will also serve as a practical expedition for selecting postgraduate students in the field of Marine Biosciences and Southern Oceans research.
“Students will gain first-hand experience in various research collection methods.
“The training will also be complemented by technical skills which the students will be exposed to during the trip,” the department said.