More than 50 scientists from eight countries conducted the Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem eXperiment 2012 (SIPEX-2). The 2012 voyage built on information and observations collected in 2007, by re-visiting the study area at about 100-120 degrees East. This was the culmination of years of preparation for the Australian Antarctic Division and, more specifically, the ACE CRC sea-ice group who lead this ... international, multi-disciplinary, sea ice voyage to East Antarctica.
Work began at the sea-ice edge and penetrated the pack ice towards the coastal land-fast ice. The purpose of SIPEX-2 was to investigate relationships between the physical sea-ice environment, marine biogeochemistry and the structure of Southern Ocean ecosystems. While the scientists and crew did not set foot on Antarctic terra firma, a number of multi-day research stations were set up on suitable sea ice floes, and a range of novel and state-of-the-art instruments were used. These included:
A Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to observe and film (with an on-board video camera) krill, and to quantify the distribution and amount of sea ice algae associated with ice floes.
An Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to study the three-dimensional under-ice topography of ice floes.
Helicopter-borne instruments to measure snow and ice thickness, floe size and sea ice type. Instruments included a scanning laser altimeter, infrared radiometer, microwave radiometer, camera and GPS.
Sea ice accelerometer buoys to measure sea ice wave interaction and its effect on floe-size distribution.
Customised pumping systems and light-traps to catch krill from below the ice and on the sea floor.