CANBERRA, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Australia's peak scientific body has launched the most comprehensive voyage ever to study blue whales in Antarctica.

A team of 28 scientists from around the world set sail on the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) research ship RV Investigator on Saturday.

During the seven-week voyage the team will seek to determine the relationship between the blue whale, the largest animal known to have ever existed, and krill its prey.

They will investigate a theory that blue whales, which can grow up to 30 meters in length and 100 tonnes in weight, act as deep-sea farmers by fertilising the sea with their waste, thus growing more algae for krill to eat.

"Knowledge about the whale-krill relationship and the role of whales in maintaining ecosystem health is key to understanding the ecology of the Southern Ocean," Mike Double, voyage chief scientist and head of the Australian Marine Mammal Centre (AMMC), told News Corp Australia on Saturday.

"We have a world-class combination of people, research ship, and cutting-edge technologies. It's going to be an incredible seven-week voyage."

In addition to using traditional marine research methods, the voyage will also see drones deployed to photograph, measure and identify blue whales.

In a world-first, the vessel's multi-beam echo-sounders will be used to develop three-dimensional models of krill swarms.

"We'll sample water in areas with whales and krill, whales only, krill only, and neither species," deputy chief scientist Elanor Bell said.

"The sampling will reveal where the iron goes, how fast it sinks, and whether primary production increases over time."