• R/V Falkor at sea. Photo credit: Mark SchropeR/V Falkor at sea. Photo credit: Mark Schrope

UWA scientists to lead expedition into unexplored Perth canyon abyss

A team of leading scientists from the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute will go where few others have ventured when they set out to unlock the secrets of a deep ocean canyon off Perth which is the size of the USA’s Grand Canyon.

The team will be among the first to explore life in the Perth Canyon which is about 50km off Fremantle in Western Australia. The underwater canyon was formed over tens of millions of years and runs to depths of more than 4 kilometres. The canyon is a global marine hotspot due to major up-swelling of essential nutrients and attracts blue whales that migrate to the waters seasonally to feed.

The team aims to collect deep-sea corals and sea water. It is hoped that chemical and biological analyses of these rare samples will provide critical new data about the canyon’s marine ecosystems.

Professor McCulloch, who is leading the study, says: “The deep sea is the largest habitat on earth but it’s the world’s least explored environment. The Perth Canyon is a great unknown. It is the largest submarine canyon on along Australia’s shelf, less than a stone’s throw from WA’s capital city, yet has never been subject to rigorous scientific investigation.”

The team will be departing on Sunday 1st March.

The University of Western Australia are one of many universities attending the Study Options Open Days in March.  If you would like to find out more about studying at UWA, please come along to this free event for a chat with their representative.

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