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Viking expedition team publishes first scientific paper

PHOTO: ANTONY GILBERT/VIKING CRUISE_S_gigantia.jpg
Stygiomedusa gigantea can reach up to 30 feet/10 meters in length. Here is one, as seen from a Viking submersible
Viking's expedition team published the company’s first scientific paper, following observations of the rarely seen Stygiomedusa gigantea, commonly known as the giant phantom jellyfish.

The encounters took place during submersible dives in the coastal waters of the Antarctic Peninsula in early 2022. Despite reaching up to 30 feet/10 meters in length, the giant phantom jellyfish has been recorded in only 126 encounters since the species was first described in 1910.

During Viking’s inaugural Antarctica season, direct observations of the giant phantom jellyfish were made three times from submersibles deployed from Viking Octantis and documented by stills and video photography.

'Exciting opportunity for discovery'

The paper is authored by two of Viking’s chief scientists. Lead author Dr. Daniel Moore stated: '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.'

Published in Polar Research, the scientific journal of the Norwegian Polar Institute, the article can be read here.

Meaningful scientific work

'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,' Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said.