On December 8, 2020, an expedition of Ukrainian women scientists has begun; they will explore the Southern Ocean for about three months. Karina Vyshniakova and Iuliia Ivanchykova, representing the National Antarctic Scientific Center and the Ukrainian Research Center for Marine Ecology, went to the shores of Antarctica from the port of Cape Town (South Africa). They will work on the Ukrainian trawler More Sodruzhestva, which will fish for Antarctic krill.
The researchers have ambitious tasks:
- whales: studying of their spatial distribution and replenishment of the photo catalog initiated at Vernadsky station in 2018;
- ice fish: sampling to determine the content of persistent organic pollutants in its tissues. According to research results, the EU may ban a number of pesticides and pharmaceutical products that pollute the oceans;
- Antarctic krill: study of differences in biochemical composition in different fishing areas. It should be noted that krill and icefish are the basis of Antarctic and Subantarctic marine ecosystems;
- parasites of commercial fish species: study of their biodiversity as a factor influencing the dynamics of fish populations.
It should be noted that this will be already the third season of operation of the unique Ferry Box software and hardware complex, one of a kind in Antarctica, which simultaneously measures 14 physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the marine environment. It is according to the Ferry Box indications that marine biologists will determine the sampling points.
The expedition will last until March 2021.
The fishing and research area includes the waters of the South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, Bransfield Strait.