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Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

East Scotia Ridge Research Cruise

Scientists from the University of Southampton are currently embarking on a cruise aboard the RRS James Cook to the East Scotia Ridge.

Cruise JC055 is aimed at studying hydrothermal vent sites in the Bransfield Strait, which lies between the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

The expedition is headed up by Professor Paul Tyler of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, University of Southampton.

"The most exiting thing about this expedition is the potential for discovery,” says Paul. “We have to locate and map the vent sites on the seafloor before we can start to study these remote ecosystems. "

The expedition will utilise remotely operated vehicle technology to study the Antarctic waters - one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

The programme is the culmination of 20 years of planning for Paul and the team, with the study of Antarctic vent systems having been the goal of the international science community for decades. This expedition provides a major piece of the jigsaw for the Census of Marine Life, extending knowledge of the biogeography of deep-water chemosynthetic ecosystems

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