Hurtigruten Expeditions has joined forces with California Ocean Alliance (COA), a research and conservation organisation, to study and protect the whales of Antarctica.
To coincide with the restart of Hurtigruten Expeditions’ 2021/2022 Antarctica season, several COA scientists will be sailing onboard the MS Roald Amundsen (the world’s first hybrid electric-powered expedition cruise ship) to collect data and study ambient noise conditions.
In particular, the team will focus on the myriad sounds that marine animals make, and the influence of human presence on the soundscape. They will also collect skin and blubber biopsy samples to evaluate individual health, population growth rates and stress levels.
And by observing how different whales behave near humans, it will allow Hurtigruten Expeditions to adapt and minimise their interference with these majestic marine creatures, while still giving guests the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them up close.
Guests will be encouraged to get involved with the research during their expedition cruise, and can chat to the scientists, attend lectures and demonstrations, and visit the state-of-the-art Science Centre, which features museum-style exhibits and is overseen by the cruise industry’s only Chief Scientist, Dr Verena Meraldi.