SA Algulhas returns after scientific trip to Marion Island

The SA Agulhas II has docked in Cape Town , after embarking on her third logistical and scientific voyage to Marion Island.

 The third Marion Island relief Voyage arrived early early  this morning. 15 May 2015,  at the East Pier Quay in Cape Town after being away for 13 months. Some of the activities of the M71 team members who participated in the voyage included collecting diet and blood samples from mammals and birds as well as soil and plant samples through the different seasons in the year.

A variety of physical, chemical and biological properties of the ocean surface waters were also analysed.

The Department of Environmental Affairs welcomed back its research vessel this morning,   The University of Pretoria’s Marion Island Marine Mammal Programme has entered its 32nd year of uninterrupted research.

The ship-based oceanographic research was a joint effort between scientists from the Department of Environmental Affairs: Oceans & Coastal Research, South African Environmental Observation Network, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the University of Cape Town: Oceanography Department.

Internationally unrivalled Southern Elephant Seal mark recapture experiment formed the backbone of training activities and maintenance during this takeover.

All activities relate to a better understanding of top marine mammal predator ecology within the Southern Ocean region. 

This integrates well with insight gained from monitoring the feeding habits of seabirds by the department’s Ocean and Coastal Research for the past 22 years.

These collectively enable the department to determine the areas of the southern ocean where the mammals and birds are feeding. Without this knowledge, it would be difficult to determine the balance in the marine ecosystem that people depend on for food security, climate impacts and economic fisheries.

Speaking during a welcoming ceremony, Acting Chief Director: Oceans Conservation, Henry Valentine said that he was informed that the takeover was a success and many planned activities were achieved.

“One of the highlights was the installation of the new Upper Air system by SA Weather Service to ensure the continued ability to predict adverse and destructive weather patterns globally,” said Valentine,

Source:  – SAnews.gov.za

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