Catalogs of whales and microplastics in the ocean - the upcoming Ukrainian expedition to Antarctica will make 5 new types of research

Catalogs of whales and microplastics in the ocean - the upcoming Ukrainian expedition to Antarctica will make 5 new types of research

Garlic of the 23rd Ukrainian Antarctic expedition, which will go to the station Academician Vernadsky in late March, will start new types of research. This is explained by the acting Director of the National Antarctic Scientific Center (NANTS) Eugene Dyky today, March 14, 2018, at the Ministry of Education and Science.

In particular, we are talking about 5 new biological studies. First of all, researchers will launch photo identification catalogs of whales, as well as update and continue the same catalogs of Weddell seals. The personal “identification” of each whale or seal allows better tracking of their migration patterns and develop more effective conservation programs.

In Antarctic soils, scientists will study microbial groups and their means of adapting to extreme conditions, and the composition of living organisms will determine the residual scales, skin and other “environmental DNA” in water. Unlike traditional methods, the e-DNA method allows you to determine the “genetic traces” of all animal species that have been in water for the past 3 days. Thus, there is a chance to get a more complete list of Antarctic fauna and to introduce a more precise and faster method for monitoring the ecosystem’s status.

Another 2 types of research will focus on the study of environmental pollution. The first one will concern the study of microplastic content in water and bottom sediments. The second is the analysis of the content of chemical contaminants in fish and shellfish tissues. Such studies will show the dynamics of pollution transfer between continents. It will also provide additional arguments for limiting the use of certain chemicals or reducing the use of plastic containers in the world.

“We have an ambitious goal – within a few years to turn the Galindez Island, where our station is located, into a permanent ecological” observatory “. It is for this purpose that the list of researches conducted by Ukrainian polar explorers is expanding. The results of these studies will provide us with a range of necessary data that will help determine the ecosystem’s response to climate change, “said Eugene Dicky.

He also spoke about NANTS’s priority directions in the coming years. For example, the activities of scientists will not be limited to the territory of the station. First of all, it is planned to reestablish marine research in the Southern Ocean, and in the long run – move deep into Antarctica and develop research in the Arctic.

Another important issue is the restoration of gender equality in the selection of seasonal and annual expeditions to the station.

“The denial of women to the Ukrainian Antarctic station is an ugly, unheard of 21st century. This is particularly insulting, given the successful participation of women in the very first, most heroic Ukrainian expeditions in the 1990s. From now on, the Ukrainian station is open to all, regardless of gender and gender “, – stressed the head of the National Academy of Sciences.

Among the priorities is the wide cooperation with international partners and the public, the development of a new state program of research in Antarctica for the years 2021-2030.

“We have many advantages in Antarctica. At our station earlier than others, climate change is felt, and for decades there is a series of observations, it works throughout the year. At the same time, there are specialists in Ukraine in all areas of Antarctic research – biological, geophysical, meteorological, oceanological, etc. And we have to use it to fill it, because at the moment polar research is one of the most promising in the world. And here Ukraine has strong positions “, – said Eugene Dicky.

We remind that on March 1, 2018, 12 participants of the new annual expedition to the Ukrainian Antarctic station Academician Vernadsky completed compulsory education. The next week, the 23rd expedition is scheduled for the celebration, during which a press conference will be held.

Also, Eugene Dicky said that the normal Internet at the station Academician Vernadsky should appear this year.

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