Antarctic News

EvoLogics Presents the new PingGuin AUV.

Inspired by Adélie penguins, EvoLogics Presents its new PingGuin AUV

a penguin’s body became the starting point for the AUV design within the NaviMUM subproject, assigned to EvoLogics. One of the EvoLogics co-founders, Dr. Rudolph Bannasch studied Adélie penguins and the effectiveness of their locomotion since the 80s, undertaking several field trips to the Antarctic and performing numerous wind tunnel and water tank experiments in Berlin. This research demonstrated that spindle-shaped flow bodies, modeled after penguins, achieve ultra-low drag coefficients in the water.Hence, the design choices for the vehicle’s components were directed at maintaining

The white microbial mats seen here are telltale signs of areas where methane may be released from underground methane deposits. Photo courtesy Andrew Thurber Oregon State University.

Scientists Discover First Methane Seep in Antarctic Sea Floor

Scientists have discovered an active methane seep from Antarctica's sea bed that could shed light on the potent greenhouse gas trapped beneath the frozen continent.Marine ecologist Andrew Thurber first glimpsed what a colleague described as a "microbial waterfall" during a dive in the icy waters of the Ross Sea in 2012. What looked like a superhighway of white patches on the ocean floor were clusters of tiny organisms drawn to the methane leak."My first thought was 'wow,' and I was immediately enamored with what this means for science," said Thurber, an assistant

Antarctic krill are shrimplike, pinkie-length crustaceans. They form the base of the Antarctic food chain, and are an essential part of the ecosystem. (Photo: NOAA AERD)

New Acoustic Technology Helps Conserve the Antarctic Ecosystem

and the fishery. This is done by using technology that combines acoustic Doppler current profiling and the capabilities of an echosounder in one device.This is essential research, because in the ocean, even the smallest creature can have a large impact. Reaching just 6 cm in length, an individual Antarctic krill may seem insignificant in the vastness of the Southern Ocean, but together they form huge aggregations that can reach several kilometers in length and hundreds of meters in thickness. Antarctic krill are vital for the Southern Ocean ecosystem, feeding a host of marine animals including whales

(Photo: Australian Antarctic Program)

Sea Trials for Australia's New Icebreaker Delayed Due to COVID-19

Australia's newly built Antarctic icebreaking research and supply vessel (RSV) is nearly ready to be delivered, but its sea trials have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) said.Construction of the ship commenced at Damen’s Galați shipyard in Romania in May 2017, and the vessel was floated out in September 2018 prior to its scheduled arrival at its home port Hobart in 2020. But delays brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak have derailed the delivery schedule.“The fit-out and testing schedule for the vessel is being severely impacted by

The survey of Ikka Fjord was conducted between the 20th and 21st June 2019, with the first day spent partly on training and familiarizng the cox with the survey requirements and reconnaissance to identify navigation hazards in the fjord caused by the columns and rock skerries as well as some acquisition. The second day was spent entirely on acquisition followed by demobilization of the spread from ‘Siku’. Image: Courtesy Norbit

Mapping the Ikaite Columns of the Ikka Fjord, SW Greenland

in areas outside of the Fjord, generally in sediments where an identified calcite inhibitor exists facilitating the formation of Ikaite meaning its presence can be explained. Without an inhibitor common calcite, not ikaite would otherwise form.In recent years ikaite has been found forming in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. This is an especially interesting development as there are no known calcite inhibitors in open marine settings where sea ice can form, suggesting that there are other methods of Ikaite formation. If we can understand the key factors for ikaite precipitation, using Ikka Fjord and its columns

Deep-Sea Coral Gardens, Graveyards Discovered Off Australia

canyons, are largely unexplored. The expedition explored the Bremer, Leeuwin and Perth canyons, all of which have extensive fossil coral deposits, with the Leeuwin especially notable for a massive pedestal-like coral graveyard.“This has global implications given these waters originate from around Antarctica which feed all of the major oceans and regulate our climate system” said Professor Malcolm McCulloch from UWA. Australia has only one oceanographic vessel available for scientific research and no supporting deep sea underwater robots, which makes this expedition so important and rare.Facing

Fig.1: A Slocum glider from Teledyne Webb Research, en route to deployment. Credit: Rutgers University.

Measuring the Hostile Ocean Beneath Hurricanes

to serve a broad range of applications. During the Macondo oil spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, Slocum gliders collected subsurface data to support response work. Recent payloads have included turbulence sensors for measuring ocean mixing, bio-acoustic sensors for assessing zooplankton stocks off Antarctica, and hydrophones for near real-time monitoring of North Atlantic right whales off the east coasts of U.S. and Canada. Slocum gliders are serving new roles at Antarctic research sites as well, especially at the edge of ice sheets.Storm Monitoring GlidersFor the last decade, Slocum gliders from

Dr Phil Anderson and his kayak. Photo from SAMS.

@ SAMS, Science + Autonomy = Answers

to change that. It went into the Norwegian arctic Barents Sea in January (24-hour darkness), April and July (24-hour daylight) - something no one had done in that area in a single year - to gather data on cruises using research vessels (the University of Tromsø’s Helmer Hanssen and British Antarctic Survey’s RRS James Clark Ross). To fill multi-month-long gaps between the cruises and overlapping with the cruises, G2 Slocum gliders were deployed. The Slocum used is part of the UK’s Marine Autonomous & Robotics Systems (MARS) pool and can dive to 200m deep.With support from modelling

Photo: Damen Shipyards Group

Damen Inks Deal for Hydrographic R/V

Authority) at their Mamonal location. The vessel, which will be 83 meters in length with a beam of 16 meters, will be the largest and most complex vessel ever to be built in Colombia.DIMAR will operate the vessel in Colombian waters,  both Pacific and Caribbean, and will also sail it to the Antarctic. The vessel has various types of hydrographic equipment on board, including all deck equipment, for example, a large A-frame on the aft, and also extensive laboratory capacity on board. It also features a Helicopter deck and hangar, that can handle a Dauphin or a Bell 412 helicopter

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