Current Expedition: Seafloor to Seabirds in the Coral Sea
Far offshore Queensland Australia, in the Coral Sea Marine Park, is a seafloor full of clues for understanding the complex geologic history of the Australia and the submerged Zealandia continent. The Seafloor to Seabirds expedition will focus mapping efforts on the Kenn Plateau, a piece of continental crust also known as a microcontinent. The Kenn Plateau was originally part of a landmass, but drowned during Australia’s break from the ancient supercontinent, Gondwana. Following the Pinging in the New Year expedition, University of Queensland scientists will remain at the helm, as Dr. Helen Bostock passes on the role of Chief Scientist to Dr. Derya Guerer. Alongside mapping underwater landscapes in the Coral Sea, the team will collect marine magnetic data and sample microplastics from the ocean using Falkor’s underway system and CTD cast. The team will once again be joined by a seabird observer investigating seabird species and concentration in space and time. The data collected will help inform future management of the Coral Sea Marine Park, IUCN Special Purpose Zones, and be added to the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project. The team is also joined by Artist-at-Sea, Lea Kannar-Lichtenberger, who will create pieces inspired by the expedition.