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Voyage Number


Voyage Dates

03 Jun, 2015 to 18 Jun, 2015

Voyage Location

Sydney to Brisbane

Chief Scientist

Professor Iain Suthers


University of NSW

Voyage summary

Research voyage to the east coast of Australia to investigate the ecological effects of the EAC.

The EAC is Australia's strongest ocean current. It affects the livelihoods of most Australians - from climate and weather - and to fisheries and tourism. It is also our closest current, sometimes only 15 km offshore, and it has strengthened in recent decades.

The ecological effects of the EAC are unknown but one process is the drawing of coastal water offshore, which includes plankton and larval fish. This mechanism is created by eddies, circular currents which spiral off larger currents.

This voyage will attempt to understand whether this natural process is a loss to the ecosystem - or an unappreciated nursery ground for coastal fish stocks.

Voyage impact

The research conducted on this voyage has given scientists a better understanding of the EAC, from which they can infer possible biological outcomes of a strengthening EAC with climate change.

Scientists discovered a possible mechanism for fisheries production world-wide, frontal eddies of ocean currents, which have the capacity to maintain fisheries via three stages: entrain, sustain and retain coastal larval fish into an offshore nursery.

There was evidence of greater zooplankton production in these offshore nursery grounds compared to the surrounding ocean, and compared to the source waters or spawning grounds. Scientists were surprised by the host of common estuarine and coastal species found as larvae in the offshore eddies, for example bream, yellowtail kingfish and tailor.

Voyage media

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