Norwegian Polar Institute led a cruise to the Kong Håkons VII Hav 28th February -10 April 2019. Our focus area was the ocean south of 65°S east of 0° meridian and 13.5° E (Fig 1) with a focus on Astrid ridge. Our focus was to map and describe the whole ecosystem. During transit, we registered birds, seals and whales systematically and registered krill and fish abundances using echo sounder. At different depths, we ran ROV transects filming and retrieving samples for later species identification. The ROV transects made up the basis of our intensive study areas. Each intensive study area contained in addition to the ROV transect, benthic sampling with appropriate gear, fish and krill trawling, long line and 3-4 CDT station with extensive water sampling for primary production and water chemistry. We rad oceanographic sections across and along the Astrid ridge and at 6,2° E. Due to heavy ice we did get to 69.5° S and depths of about 1100m.
Crossing the deep ocean along 86.1°S we encountered an extensive algae bloom in the deep trench separating Astrid ridge and Maud rise. Associated with the algae bloom we had large concentrations of krill, humpback whales and birds. We found some large concentrations of krill in the pack ice over Astrid ridge with few whales around. Far south on Astrid ridge we encountered some flocks Emperor penguins and Antarctic petrel and Snow petrels were abundant. Of the seals, mainly Crabeater seals was seen and no Weddell seals was spotted.
On Astrid ridge the ROV and bottom trawls found that Echinoderms and shrimps were dominating the transect. Holothuroids were especially abundant and included at least five different species. We set three longlines and got only four tootfish, all at Maud rise. The results from the CTD samples are still being analyzed and no conclusions are made.
Most of the samples are still being processes so any results must be used with caution.