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Cruise plan for the 2019 IWC-SORP research voyage 'The availability of Antarctic krill to large predators and their role in biogeochemical recycling in the Southern Ocean’

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Double, M.C., Westwood, K., Bell, E.M., Kelly, N., Miller, B.S., de la Mare, W., Andrews-Goff, V.A., Cox, M.J., Kawaguchi, S., King, R., Melbourne-Thomas, J., Davidson, A., Nicol, S., Williams, G., Laverock, B., Ratnarajah, L., et al.

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International Whaling Commission


In January to March 2019 the Australian Antarctic Division will lead a 49-day Antarctic voyage on the Australia’s Marine National Facility vessel the RV Investigator. This voyage will contribute to the IWC-SORP’s ‘Antarctic Blue Whale Project’ and ‘Acoustic Trends’ themes. The voyage’s objective is to determine whether the characteristics of krill swarms can predict the distribution and behaviour of Antarctic predators, particularly Antarctic blue whales. The density, distribution, and fine-scale 3D structure of krill swarms will be described relative to predator density and distribution estimated through visual surveys and passive acoustics. In addition, through measurements of the abundance and speciation of whale faecal iron the voyage will assess the controversial theory of iron-fertilisation by whales and determine whether iron concentrations are higher within aggregations of feeding whales than within krill-only aggregations or than in adjacent areas. The data collected on this voyage will further describe how large Southern Ocean whales interact with krill in time and space which will inform the development of management tools for both whales and krill.

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