The Ocean Census – Bounty Trough research cruise is a 21-day expedition and workshop exploring one of the most remote parts of the deep ocean.
Led by Ocean Census, The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, a team of scientists will spend 21 days investigating the unexplored Bounty Trough ocean system off the coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
Departing from Wellington, New Zealand onboard R/V. Tangaroa, our goal is to find out more about this under-explored area, with an ambition to sample down to an incredible 5,000 metres. The Bounty Trough is a mid-cretaceous rift basin bounded on the north by the Chatham Rise and on the south by the Campbell Plateau.
Through its center runs the 800km long Bounty Channel in depths of 1,500–5,000 m. The Bounty fan extends down to nearly 5,000 m towards the Southwest pacific abyssal plain.
The expedition has been co-developed with host nation partners and will include consultation with and the participation of scientist institutes across New Zealand, and support from Ngāi Tahu, the principal Māori iwi (tribe) of the South Island, NIWA and the Te Papa Museum.
A taxonomic workshop will also take place following the cruise, to aid the accelerated species discovery. Post expedition, the collection will be curated at NIWA and Te Papa Museum.
This expedition has been funded by Ocean Census, with co-funding provided by NIWA through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF).
Images with thanks to: Rob Stewart, Peter Marriott, Dave Allen, Stuart Mackay and NIWA.