Without the protection of the A-68's ice, nearly 3,600 sq miles (6,000 km) of Antarctic ocean water are now exposed to sunlight and accessible for the first time in more than 120,000 years.
Using video cameras and a special sled that will scoop up samples from the bottom, the researchers are hoping to collect seafloor animals, microbes, plankton and sediment.
While the iceberg calving event itself has not been blamed on human-caused global warming, there are fears that it left the Larsen C Ice Shelf in a weaker state than it was in before, making it more susceptible to increasing air and sea temperatures.
The expedition will set off from the Falkland Islands on February 21, and it'll spend three weeks probing beneath the waves. Scientists from the University of Leeds analyzed the changes on the remaining part of the ice shelf, to assess structural changes and to evaluate its stability.More news: Teck Resources (NYSE:TECK) Downgraded by Clarkson Capital to "Neutral"
Although changes to the ecosystem would have always been happening as it remained under the cover of darkness, the rapid removal of its icy ceiling means that it's now experiencing light levels that have been far lower for hundreds of millennia.
"The calving of A68 provides us with a unique opportunity to study marine life as it responds to a dramatic environmental change", Linse said in a statement released by Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany.
Katrin Linse, who is leading the team for the upcoming expedition, said they want to explore the water as early as possible so that they can study the ecosystem before sunlight starts changing the undersea environment. Now, a group of scientists supported by the British Antarctic Survey, or BAS, is en route to survey the newly-exposed ocean waters before new species move in and establish themselves, changing the ecosystem forever.
The A-68 iceberg is one of the largest ever observed on Earth.More news: All eyes on North Koreans in pairs figure skating
Under this agreement, exposed marine areas following the collapse or retreat of ice shelves in Antarctica, such as the one targeted by BAS, are designated Special Areas for Scientific Study.
Though scientists are apprehensive of what they may find in the pristine waters, they have come across freakish creatures in Antarctica before.
This marine area will benefit from an global agreement reached in 2016, which designated areas for scientific study in newly-exposed marine areas following the retreat of ice shelves or their collapse as well.
"Larsen C is a long way south and there's lots of sea ice in the area, but this is important science, so we will try our best to get the team where they need to be", said Professor David Vaughan, Science Director at BAS.More news: Don't undermine NATO, US envoy warns EU