The 2009 seamounts cruise

Onboard the Norwegian research vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen, a team of the world's leading experts, paired with scientists from the region, investigated seamounts in the international waters of the Indian Ocean. Starting its voyage on November 11, 2009 at Reunion Island, the vessel sailed off towards the southwest Indian Ocean Ridge to study five seamounts located between 32°00' S and 41°00' S, and ended its journey forty days later, in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

This first cruise focussed on pelagic ecosystem, fisheries and oceanography. The investigations onboard included chemical, physical and biological oceanography in order to improve understanding of the sourroundings of the seamounts and their interactions with the pelagic realm. The work of the scientific team included:

  • Acoustic surveys to identify fish stocks and distribution
  • Acoustic and net studies of zooplankton, micronekton, nekton and fish
  • Pelagic trawls to assess the biodiversity of fish, crustaceans and other invertebrates
  • Genetic studies
  • Oceanographic measurements (water salinity and temperature, current speed and oxygen)
  • Seabird surveys
  • Multibeam surveys to develop detailed bathymetric maps of the seafloor

Dr Fridtjof Nansen

The marine research vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen is a Norwegian contribution to international development efforts. It is financed by the Norwegian Agency for Develoment Cooperation (NORAD) and is operated by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR). Its principal tasks are mapping the distribution and quantity of fish stocks, which it has been studying since 1975, from the South China Sea in the east to the Pacific coast of Central America in the west.

Most of the work of the vessel has been off the east and west coasts of Africa, supporting a number of science programmes managed by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The FAO executed EAF-Nansen Project's principal aim is to strenghten the knowledge base for and implementing an ecosystem-approach to marine fisheries in developing countries.  

The ship was named after Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930), a famous Norwegian biologist and explorer.