The research on the expedition contributed information toward improving our understanding of the population structure, abundance, trends, distribution and ecological role of whales in the Southern Ocean. Scientists used state-of-the-art non-lethal research techniques, focusing particularly on humpback, minke, blue and fin whales.
The researchers worked from onboard the Tangaroa, as well as from two smaller six-metre rigid inflatable boats.
From the Tangaroa, the scientists used a range of methods to collect and analyse information about the whales, including:
- acoustic surveys
- hydrographic surveys
- collecting sitings data
A team of four or five researchers crewed each of the smaller rigid inflatable boats, which were deployed from the Tangaroa. From these smaller boats, a variety of methods were used to collect information about the whales, including:
- biopsy sampling
- satellite tagging
- faeces collection
- photo identification
Biopsy sample from Humpback whale
The expedition left Wellington and travelled to the north of the Ross Sea and surrounding waters, covering a large area around the ice edge of Antarctica.