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Auburn University’s Kenneth M. Halanych is part of a group of 20 scientists set to embark on a 14-week voyage to study unexplored Antarctic waters to improve understanding of biodiversity undergoing rapid changes because of a changing climate.

The expedition includes researchers from Auburn University, the University of Alabama, Central Michigan University, the University of Alaska Anchorage and other institutions that also will train the next generation of zoologists in developing expertise on marine invertebrate animals using traditional and cutting-edge techniques. The multi-university team is set to begin its journey on Sept. 20 and will begin reporting its findings in early November.

Funded by four grants totaling more than $2 million from the National Science Foundation, researchers will explore the biodiversity, evolution and biogeographic patterns of animals and microbes living in the Weddell Sea. Using data and biological samples collected during the trip, the scientists will use morphological and molecular tools to assess Antarctic biodiversity and unrecognized genetic variation and patterns of relatedness between populations of marine Antarctic species. 

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