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Showing posts from December, 2014

The New Zealand Subantarctic Islands Expedition of 2014

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Just a century ago a voyage to the subantarctic islands was a journey into the unknown. Tales of archipelagos home to thriving seal and penguin colonies and surrounded by vast numbers of whales promised riches to those who dared head south. But getting there was an entirely different matter. Ships literally sailed off the edge off the map in their quest for profit. The ‘Roaring Forties’ and ‘Furious Fifty’ winds made the Southern Ocean a dangerous place to venture in small wooden craft, while the islands were often poorly mapped or non-existent. Today the region offers wealth of a different sort to scientists.
Yesterday, a team of five of us returned from a three week voyage to the Southern Ocean. Building on the scientific findings of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, we set out from the University of New South Wales to explore the changing climate and environment of the New Zealand subantarctic islands Campbell and Auckland. These biological hotspots straddle 50 to 52˚…