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Established in 1998 as an advisory committee under the Marine National Facility Steering Committee (MNFSC), the purpose of the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) is to provide advice to the MNFSC on the Research Quality of research proposals under the Merit Assessment Process and other matters requiring expertise as needed.

The RAC is governed by Terms of Reference. PDF (245 KB)


Emeritus Professor Peter Steinberg, Chair

Peter Steinberg is Emeritus Professor of Biology at The University of New South Wales Sydney. From 2009-2020 he was the inaugural Director and CEO of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. Peter has more than 35 years of experience in a diversity of biological and ecological fields, including coastal and kelp forest ecology, marine restoration and environmental microbiology. He has over 240 publications and 10 patents from his research, which have been cited over 34,000 times. He has been a Web of Science highly cited researcher since 2020.

Peter has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, CEO of an ASX listed biotechnology company, and director of major research centres in Australia and internationally. Awards for his work include the Australian Marine Science Association’s Silver Jubilee Award for outstanding contributions to marine science, and the NSW Premier's Science and Engineering Prize for Excellence in Biological Sciences.

Peter is a member of several boards in addition to his MNF role. These include MEEKP, the Expert Panel advising NSW’s Marine Estate Management Authority, the Council of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and Ocean Impact Organisation, a marine technology incubator/accelerator. He has previously served as a Board Member of IMOS and as a member of the National Marine Science Committee.

Professor Carmen Gaina, Member

Professor Carmen Gaina is a geoscientist specialised in marine geophysics and oceanic basin evolution. For the last 25 years, she has studied oceanic basins of both hemispheres aiming to link their geological history with the evolution of global sea-level, volcanism and climate. Carmen has worked with geophysical data collected from different platforms (ships, ground, airborne, and satellites) and led and participated in numerous international projects where this data was collated and analysed.

Carmen is recognised as a specialist in gravity and magnetic data analysis and modelling of large regions (global oceans and polar regions) or globally. She led multi-disciplinary projects where geoscientific data (geophysics, geology, geochemistry, etc) was used to construct large geodynamic models to explain temporal and spatial evolution of oceanic basins and adjacent continental margins. Carmen collaborates with seismologists for understanding the nature and configuration of Earth’s crust and mantle, and with oceanographers and climate scientists for quantifying the interactions between solid Earth, oceans and atmosphere through time.

Carmen worked in Romania, Australia and Norway in universities and government organizations. She participated in seven blue-water research cruises in the Pacific, Indian and Arctic oceans (the last one, in 2021, as an on-shore co-PI). Carmen has been part of data collection planning for three of them, and have directly contributed to the collection, monitoring, processing and analysing geophysical data for all cruises. She has experience with data and marine environment from continental shelf to the abyssal domain and to mid-ocean ridges in a variety of tectonic setting including marginal basins and large oceans.

Professor Simon Jarman, Member

Professor Jarman is a marine scientist with more than 20 years research experience. Simon's research expertise is in genomics of marine organisms, focusing on population biology and life cycle analysis of large marine animals, and environmental DNA research on biodiversity of the oceans.

Simon has worked for several universities, the Australian Commonwealth Government, and the CSIRO. He has spent almost two years in total at sea on various research voyages.

Simon is currently Professor of Biodiversity Genomics based at the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute at the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre. He has marine research projects in Western Australia, the Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and the Alaskan coast. Simon teaches Biological Oceanography, Environmental Genomics, and Animal Population Biology.

Dr Helen Bostock, Member

Associate Professor Helen Bostock is a marine geologist who focusses on paleoceanography and biogeochemistry of the oceans. Helen was awarded her PhD from the Australian National University in 2005 and has worked at Geoscience Australia, Canberra, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington and, in 2019, joined the University of Queensland as Associate Professor.

Helen’s research has largely focussed on using a range of chemistry and plankton/microfossils in water samples and sediment cores to understanding the carbon cycle and ocean circulation in the Southwest Pacific and Southern Ocean, both in the present and past over glacial/interglacial cycles.

Helen has participated in more than 10 research voyages on the RV Tangaroa, RV Falkor and RV Investigator, as well as a number of commercial and education voyages.

Associate Professor Nicole Jones, Member

Associate Professor Nicole Jones is a physical oceanographer at the University of Western Australia. She uses a combination of field observations and numerical modelling to study primarily relatively small-scale ocean dynamics, including turbulent mixing, internal waves and ocean eddies. Understanding these processes is vital to quantify the transport of heat, pollutants and nutrients around the ocean. Nicole has extensive fieldwork and cruise experience and a particular interest in the development of novel field-observation techniques.

Nicole has been an Editor for the Journal of Physical Oceanography since 2018. She also represents the Western Australian marine science community by leading the Western Australia node of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). Nicole is passionate about the advancement of STEM women into leadership roles and is involved in both local and national efforts to achieve this.

Associate Professor Jochen Kaempf, Member

Dr Jochen Kaempf is a physical oceanographer with a strong interest in physical processes that enhance biological productivity. He completed his PhD on new ice formation in polar regions in 1996 at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He came to Flinders University, Adelaide, in 1999, where he is still employed as Associated Professor in Oceanography.

His research is highly versatile and multi-disciplinary ranging from geological studies on the formation of fluid mud, meteorological studies of cyclones in the tropical Indian Ocean, to oceanographic studies on the dynamics of benthic storms in the deep sea. Jochen is a world-leading upwelling expert. He has led the discovery of several coastal upwelling systems including the Great Southern Australian Coastal Upwelling System (GSACUS) that is a key nutrient source for the southern hemisphere marine food web.

He has participated in several marine research voyages including the first CAPSTAN cruise aboard RV Investigator as Chief Scientist. He frequently reviews manuscripts and research grant applications.

Associate Professor Maria Seton, Member

Associate Professor Maria Seton is a marine geoscientist based in the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney. Maria was awarded her PhD from the University of Sydney in 2005, an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2009 and an ARC Future Fellowship in 2013. Maria was awarded the Dorothy Hill Medal from the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2014.

Maria's research largely focusses on using our knowledge of surface plate kinematics and the marine geological record to understand processes in the deep earth, how the deep Earth communicates with the surface and the influence of tectonics on Earth's long-term climate evolution. While much of her research is global in scale and scope, she has a particular interest in the tectonic, geodynamic and climate evolution of the SW Pacific and Zealandia.

Maria has participated in research voyages on French and Australian research vessels, most notably as Chief Scientist on one of the last voyages of the RV Southern Surveyor, to the Coral Sea.

Associate Professor Patti Virtue, Member

Associate Professor Patti Virtue (AAM), works collaboratively across nations and disciplines, contributing to research covering aspects of biological oceanography, sea ice ecology, zooplankton (krill) research and marine oils. Her work contributes to the understanding of the role of krill in the Southern Ocean ecosystem and the likely impacts of climate change to krill. She has been fortunate to have undertaken numerous Antarctic science expeditions both at sea and on station over an extended period.

Patti completed her undergraduate studies in biological oceanography at UVic, Canada, and an Honours degree and PhD at the University of Tasmania before joining CSIRO Division of Oceanography as a research scientist. Patti went on to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris VI, Observatoire Océanologique, Villefranche sur mer, France. She returned to UTAS as an ARC postdoctoral fellow and is now an Associate Professor at IMAS and a visiting research fellow at CSIRO. She is currently the graduate research training coordinator for the Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science.

Patti was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (2015) from the University of Magallanes, Chile, in recognition of leadership and commitment to international Antarctic education and research. She was also awarded the Australian Antarctic Medal (2021) by the Governor-General of Australia for her “outstanding contribution and efforts in mentoring and teaching the next generation of Antarctic ecologists, and her contribution to the understanding of the role of krill in the Southern Ocean ecosystem and the likely impacts of climate change to krill.”

Early Career Researcher - vacant

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