The Australian Antarctic research and resupply vessel, RV Aurora Australis, was directed to undertake an opportunistic marine science survey for 17 days during 21 February to 10 March 2015 using ship time that became available due to unexpectedly favourable ice conditions for Mawson station resupply.
The purpose of this opportunistic Marine Science work was to assess:
- The spatial variability, particularly along the shelf break, of the prey field for penguins, flying seabirds and marine mammals in East Antarctica.
- The small scale variability of prey in key foraging locations near to land-based colonies of penguins and flying seabirds in East Antarctica.
- Feasibility and potential of utilising annual station resupply voyages as a cost effective means to undertake monitoring and research to better understand the ecosystem in the region.
The survey completed 5 acoustic box surveys including a total of 53 RMT target and routine trawls, 6 demersal trawls, 131 phytoplankton samples from underway sampling, and 214 hourly observations of predators. These activities were successfully supervised remotely.