In agreement with the Report of the IXX WG-EMM (Art. 2.78; p.128), the current paper presents the next Italian survey, that will be carried out in the Ross Sea during the austral summer 2003-2004. The research consists of three core activities: (1) Acoustic sampling on krill (E. superba and E. crystallorophias) populations and concurrent censuses of their top predators for estimating krill distribution and abundance, and the effects of predators on altering them; (2) Net sampling for describing krill demography, energetic/physiology and genetics; (3) CTD and XBT sampling for identifying the characteristics of the water masses which influence krill ecological behaviour. All these activities will be undertaken synoptically along a cruise track (about 2500 nm) that gives an uniform density of acoustic, net and CTD samplings across the whole area (90000 nm2). The primary objective of the research is to improve those measurements required for the conservation of krill biology in the Ross Sea and the adjacent area of the Pacific Ocean. The second main objective is to use krill as model organisms for studying the interactions between environment and organism variability. The third main objective is to investigate the relationships between krill (E. superba) and their main competitive or predator species.
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