On November 13, 2018, 9 scientists from the National Antarctic Scientific Center, the Ukrainian Scientific Center of Ecology of the Sea (UkrSCES) of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine and the Institute of Geophysics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine departed to a research expedition to study the state of the South Ocean. In Cape Town (South Africa), they board to “MORE SODRUZHESTVA” fishing trawler (“INTERRYBFLOT” Corporation, Ukraine) and travel to Antarctica.
This is the first since 2001 research expedition to the Southern Ocean, which in the opinion of Dr Evgen Dykyi, the acting Director of the National Antarctic Scientific Center, “is recognition of the scientific potential of Ukraine and its active international position in the conservation of the vulnerable ecosystem of Antarctica”.
The expedition has three main goals:
First, on the request of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a study of Antarctic krill population will be conducted.
Ukraine is one of the six countries (along with Great Britain, China, Korea, Norway and Chile) that not only conduct industrial krill fishing, but they should also jointly find an answer to the question: “Should the catch of krill be limited or, on the contrary, its amount is enough for everyone, including man?”
The second goal is to begin a continuous collection of data on the state of the waters in the Ocean thanks to Ferrybox set of devices, which will automatically take samples of water throughout the expedition period and will determine its 14 chemical and biological indicators.
And, finally, samples of “ecological DNA” (dissolved DNA of all living things found in ocean waters during the last three days) will be selected to develop a comprehensive “portrait of the ecosystem” – a list of all the inhabitants of the Ocean from microorganisms to whales.