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MNF Subscriber eNewsletter | Jun 2024

In this edition:

  • Director's message
  • Primary Application call now closed
  • Vessel dry docking
  • Maritime heritage research
  • Feature video: Salp soup!
  • MNF feedback survey
  • Research on the radar
  • Find us at upcoming events
  • MNF in the news

Director's message

Welcome to the latest edition of the Marine National Facility (MNF) Newsletter. 

In this edition, I’m pleased to be able to provide several important updates about our future operations and capability enhancements for research vessel (RV) Investigator. Foremost, as advised in our December 2023 newsletter, we had previously identified a funding shortfall for the MNF from the 2025-26 financial year onwards, which meant future voyage schedules might have been reduced. CSIRO has since undertaken an urgent assessment of its funding sources for the MNF, which includes both CSIRO appropriation funding and National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) funding. I’m pleased to share that this has allowed us to identify and negotiate a one-off redistribution of funding that will facilitate full year operations of RV Investigator until 2026-27.

As a result, we expect to be able to offer two additional research voyages to applicants for the 2025-26 schedule. Furthermore, we are now confident that we will be able to restart the Collaborative Australian Post-Graduate Sea Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN) program. This is an invaluable program for training future generations of marine researchers and will be delivered in partnership with the University of Tasmania and the Australian New Zealand International Ocean Consortium. More information about CAPSTAN will be forthcoming in future months.

Securing full year operations for our upcoming schedule period is an incredibly positive outcome for our research community. I would like to acknowledge the CSIRO team and our funding partners who have worked diligently to achieve this result.

It’s especially pleasing to share this news in what is an incredibly significant year for RV Investigator, this being our tenth year of vessel operations following commissioning in 2014. While I remember the ship sailing up the Derwent River for the first time like it was yesterday, the vessel has delivered 107 voyages since that time across the length and breadth of our vast marine estate. In addition to the important data and knowledge that have been furnished from these voyages, they have also provided us with important experience in the operation of this world-class research platform.

These learnings will be applied during the vessel’s upcoming dry docking and the concurrent middle of life refit (Mid-Life Refit) project. The dry docking, which is part of the vessel’s scheduled 5-yearly maintenance cycle, will be undertaken in Singapore during July-September 2024. The Mid-Life Refit Project will commence at that time and implement a range of scientific and amenity upgrades on the vessel. In the short term, the Mid-Life Refit will continue over several months after the vessel returns to its home port of Hobart in September. Further scientific upgrades will also be implemented in the subsequent years following consultation with our research community on their research needs.

For more information about timelines and activities in the 2024-25 schedule, please visit our Voyage Schedules page.

The Mid-Life Refit will ensure that RV Investigator continues to provide our community with world-leading research capabilities, as well as a comfortable workplace for those going to sea. More information about the Mid-Life Refit will be available in coming months.

With that, I encourage you to read on for more important MNF news and updates on our shared research achievements. As always, thank you to all our collaborators, partners and participants for your support, and I wish all those at sea successful voyages.

Toni Moate
MNF Director

Primary Application call has closed

The 2024 Primary Application call for sea time in 2026-27 closed on 22 May 2024. Thank you to all applicants for the time and effort taken to submit an application.

Applications will now be assessed by the MNF and the independent advisory committees, with a call for rejoinders (where required) being the next stage of the assessment process.

See the timeline for application assessment and announcements

Upcoming vessel dry docking and upgrades

In early July, RV Investigator will depart from Brisbane to travel to Singapore for dry docking and commencement of a middle of life refit (Mid-Life Refit) project. This work, which is part of the vessel’s scheduled maintenance and life cycle, will ensure that RV Investigator continues to provide world-leading research capabilities to deliver vital marine and atmospheric research for the nation. 

The dry docking and associated works will take approximately 1.5 months and the vessel will return to Australia in September. Works for the Mid-Life Refit will then continue in RV Investigator’s home port of Hobart, both in the immediate and longer term.

Visit the schedules page for further details about RV Investigator’s upcoming schedule

Maritime heritage research

The MNF offers Australia's maritime archaeologists and historians specialised capability, equipment and expertise to help discover, identify and protect our underwater cultural heritage. Most recently, we assisted Heritage NSW identify the wreck of the 120-year-old steamship, SS Nemesis.

From lost shipwrecks to submerged cultural landscapes, we have been an important collaborator in many significant maritime heritage projects and discoveries around Australia's coastline.

Explore some of the shipwrecks we have investigated and discovered

Feature video

Scientists sail into a salp soup

Scientists aboard RV Investigator encountered a bloom of salps during an underwater camera survey of marine life off SE Australia.

MNF feedback survey

We would like to thank those people and organisations who responded to our recent MNF user survey. Your feedback is valued and appreciated. We’re in the process of analysing the results and will report back on findings and actions in an upcoming newsletter. 

As a national facility, research user input into our operations, priorities and how well we are meeting expectations is crucial to identify areas where we can improve the experience of engaging with the MNF. The responses will also help inform how we manage MNF capability now and into the future to ensure we deliver broad access and national benefit from our infrastructure and expertise.

Find key MNF contacts for enquiries about our scientific services

Research on the radar

Welcome to our newsletter feature where we highlight recent publications from research delivered using MNF infrastructure and data.

A review of the oceanography and Antarctic Bottom Water formation offshore Cape Darnley, East Antarctica

Sienna Neve Blanckensee, David E Gwyther, Benjamin Keith Galton-Fenzi, Kathryn L Gunn, Laura Herraiz-Borreguero, Kay I. Ohshima, Esther Portela Rodriguez, Alexandra L Post, Helen Bostock | May 2024

Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) is the densest water mass in the world and drives the lower limb of the global thermohaline circulation. AABW is formed in only four regions around Antarctica and Cape Darnley, East Antarctica, is the most recently discovered formation region. Here, we compile 40 years of oceanographic data for this region to provide the climatological oceanographic conditions, and review the water mass properties and their role in AABW formation. 


Lepocreadiidae (Trematoda) associated with gelatinous zooplankton (Cnidaria and Ctenophora) and fishes in Australian and Japanese waters

Thomas H. Cribb, Scott C. Cutmore, Nicholas Q.-X. Wee, Joanna G. Browne, Pablo Diaz Morales, Kylie A. Pitt | March 2024

We examined gelatinous zooplankton from off eastern Australia for lepocreadiid trematode metacercariae. From 221 specimens of 17 species of cnidarian medusae and 218 specimens of four species of ctenophores, infections were found in seven cnidarian and two ctenophore species.  


Find out how to acknowledge the MNF for the research services we provide.

Find us at upcoming events

Australian Antarctic Festival – Hobart, 22-25 August 2024

The MNF will be featuring its immersive marine science cinema experience, INVESTIGATE, at the bi-annual Australian Antarctic Festival in August. The exhibit will be available for the school (only) days on 22- 23 August and for the public days on 24-25 August.

Come along and take a deep dive into the marine science we deliver and pick up your very own cardboard model of RV Investigator to make!

AMSA Conference – Hobart, 15-20 September 2024

The MNF is excited to welcome the 2024 Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) Conference to RV Investigator’s home port of Hobart! CSIRO will be delivering several presentations about our research and infrastructure, and the MNF will be manning a booth at the Conference.

While the ship won’t be in port, participants will still be able to dive into an immersive at-sea experience via our INVESTIGATE marine science experience, which will be hosted at the conference.

In the news

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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.