The “Cabo de Hornos” on Rapa Nui
In October of 2015, the research vessel AGS-61 “Cabo de Hornos” set sail from Valparaíso into the waters of the oceanic islands of Rapa Nui and Salas y Gomez with 27 scientísts to study the waters between the continent and the islands and especially around them. Prepared with their equipment, they could measure the characteristics of the water at great depths (temperature, salinity, nutrients) and even bring up samples of the dark, unknown waters.
On this Chilean expedition, the first on a large scale to the Oceanic Islands in more than 15 years (the last previous one was the CIMAR-5 Islands cruise in 1999), teams of scientists from the entire country participated. Among the 27 scientists aboard were 7 members of the Millennium Nucleus “Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI)”. Many samples were taken which will help to identify the breeding grounds of marine resources, to get better information on the areas of greatest productivity, to reveal the biology of the top predators (marine birds and sharks) and to determine the extent of the threat caused by plastic rubbish. There are weeks and months of work in the labs still ahead before results can be published. The information generated will help to better understand the biology and the ecology of the oceanic waters, as well as give support to plans for conservation and sustainable management of the marine resources of Rapa Nui.