The Kermadec Islands’ are the most isolated piece of rock that New Zealand has, some 1,000km North of Tauranga, right in the middle of very deep oceans. The isolation, recent geological origin and predominantly subtropical marine flora and fauna make them unique both nationally and internationally. I often imagine the Kermadec as one of the last untouched area on the planet.
Many species found at the Kermadecs do not occur on mainland New Zealand. The limited sampling to date has discovered that almost every major taxonomic group studied so far, with the exception of the algae and corals, has one or more species endemic to the islands.
On Wednesday, I am leaving with a team of Te Papa scientists to work on the fish fauna of this fantastic location. It’s going to be a three long days trip steaming to Raoul Island, the main island of the Kermadec. Then, we will mostly do video and collecting work, deploying systems from the shallow and colourful 50m depth zone, to the dark deep-sea waters beyond 1500m where no light penetrates. It is a very exciting time and I expect lots of new discoveries out of this survey. Hopefully, I will be able to share them with you with the help of satellite communication. Thank you technology!
More to come later…