Welcome to the latest edition of the Marine National Facility (MNF) Newsletter.
Since our last update, the MNF has delivered 3 voyages to complete the 2022-23 voyage schedule. These voyages illustrate how our research contributes not only to the national scientific knowledge but also to international research and monitoring programs. They included our ongoing collaboration with IMOS, jointly funded by NCRIS, to maintain long-term ocean monitoring infrastructure, an international research laboratory collaboration to ensure best practice in ocean nutrient monitoring, and research to better understand fisheries in our region. The collective knowledge generated from this work is important. Along with the other research we deliver, it directly addresses important challenges such as the challenge of enhancing resilient and valuable environments. To find out more about the diversity of research we deliver, I’d encourage you to read some of the media stories at the end of this newsletter.
Complementing the research we deliver, the past few months have seen the MNF actively engaging with our stakeholders and community to promote our research capabilities, as well as the benefit and impact of the research we deliver. This included participation at the 2023 AMSA Conference on the Gold Coast, the Southern Ocean Observing System Symposium in Hobart, and several events for National Science Week. A particular outreach highlight was the special Storytime from a Science Ship event - you can read more about this below. The activities also included the first public appearances of our new INVESTIGATE outreach container. To quote one of our MNF staff, “immersive marine science cinema is now a thing!” We look forward to the container’s official public launch in coming months as it begins its tour around the country.
The completion of the 2022-23 voyage schedule finds us on the precipice of a significant milestone. The 2023-24 voyage schedule has started with RV Investigator in a well-deserved long maintenance period. However, on completion, the upcoming sea trials voyage will see the ship undertake its 100th voyage! We intend to mark this achievement alongside our many contributors over the years with several celebration activities. To all who have joined us on the journey, we hope you’re equally proud of being part of this achievement.
This brings me to another important milestone in the lifecycle of the vessel. CSIRO has been undertaking a Request for Tender process for the provision of future ship management services for RV Investigator. This process has now been finalised and CSIRO has executed a ship management services agreement with MMA Offshore Limited. This agreement will take effect from early November. A handover process has been carefully planned to ensure a smooth transition process now occurs. I would like to acknowledge and thank ASP Ship Management for their 10-year partnership with CSIRO in delivering excellent marine research to benefit the nation, which included commissioning and bringing RV Investigator into service.
We look forward to working with all our partners in continuing to deliver excellent marine research for national benefit in the years ahead.
Stay safe and I wish all those at sea successful voyages.
2023 application call update
The call for Primary Applications for the 2025-26 financial year closed in May and applications are currently being assessed. Assessment is undertaken by two independent panels, as well as the MNF itself, against criteria of research excellence and national benefit. Once assessed and prioritised, a Primary Schedule for 2025-26 will be developed and presented to the MNF Steering Committee for endorsement. Following this, letters of offer are issued to the successful applicants. This is expected to be completed by January 2024.
A call for Supplementary Applications will then be considered to fill any unused capacity in the schedule. Piggyback Applications will also be invited, to enable projects of national benefit that require little or no additional resourcing to deliver within the schedule.
As part of National Science Week celebrations, RV Investigator recently welcomed wildlife scientist, author and voyage alumni, Dr Vanessa Pirotta, back onboard to read her wonderful children’s book, The Voyage of Whale and Calf.
The reading was broadcast to over 5000 school students across Australia, as well as a lucky group of local Hobart students onboard the ship. Before the reading, Dr Pirotta joined CSIRO’s Dr Ben Arthur on a virtual tour of the ship to share stories from her 50-day voyage to Antarctica in 2017.
Welcome to our newsletter feature where we highlight recent publications from research delivered using MNF infrastructure and data.
A case study off the Tiwi Islands and the Coburg Peninsula: Baroclinic on one side and barotropic on the other
R. Robertson, C. Zhao, W. Wang, Z. Xu, Z. Liu | August 2023
Observational data (ADCP and CTD) were collected from two areas on either side of the Tiwi Islands and Coburg Peninsula. Tides dominated the ocean dynamics in both areas, with contributions from solar radiation, nighttime convective cooling, surface wind mixing, and benthic frictional mixing. Despite the same dominating forcing factors, the dynamics and environments differed between the east and west sides of the Tiwi Islands and Coburg Peninsula.
New Species of Scalibregmatidae (Annelida) from Slope and Abyssal Depths off Eastern Australia
James A. Blake | May 2023
Seven new species of Scalibregmatidae are described from deep waters off the east coast of Australia. Samples were collected as part of the RV Investigator voyage IN2017_V03 in May/June 2017 using a Brenke sledge and 0.25 m2 box core.
CSIRO’s Engineering and Technology Program provides world-leading expertise and technical capability for the Marine National Facility and the wider marine research community. The team enables research in coastal regions, the deep ocean and for climate monitoring.
The Engineering and Technology Program is a leader in the development and operation of marine and atmospheric science technology in Australia, developing innovative technology solutions to solve complex research challenges.
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The Marine National Facility is national research infrastructure funded by the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and operated by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, on behalf of the nation.