The Viking Expedition Team has published the company’s first scientific paper from the inaugural Antarctica season, according to a press release.
“In creating ‘the thinking person’s expedition,’ it was our intention that every voyage should provide opportunities for scientific discovery,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking.
“At the core of Viking Expeditions is the goal to do meaningful scientific work. After just one full season in service, we are pleased that our expedition vessels and scientists have already contributed to research that might not have been possible otherwise, and we look forward to providing critical research opportunities on future voyages.”
The paper contains observations of the rarely encountered scyphozoan Stygiomedusa gigantea, also known as the giant phantom jellyfish that the expedition team encountered during submersible dives in the coastal waters of the Antarctic Peninsula in 2022.
There have been only 126 encounters with the giant phantom jellyfish ever recorded since the species was first described in 1910. During the inaugural season in Antarctica in 2022, the Viking’s team observed the giant phantom jellyfish three times thanks to the submersibles deployed from Viking’s expedition ship, the Viking Octantis. The team documented these encounters through stills and video photography.
The paper was authored by Viking’s chief scientists with contributions from the submersible teams. It describes how personal submersibles, like the ones on the Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, can provide opportunities for biological research in polar regions.
The lead author, Dr. Daniel Moore said: “It is extraordinary that we know so little about such large marine creatures as the giant phantom jellyfish, however now we have the means to make regular observations at greater depths than previously possible, which provides an exciting opportunity for discovery.”
The paper is published in Polar Research, the scientific journal of the Norwegian Polar Institute, and can be read here: http://dx.doi.org/10.33265/polar.v42.8873.