Prof Gustaaf Hallegraeff
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
Transit voyage from Brisbane to Hobart to relocate the vessel in preparation for IN2018_C01. During the transit, a number of research, outreach and training projects will be undertaken, including a project to increase our understanding of the history of harmful algal blooms in Tasmanian waters.
Unprecedented toxic dinoflagellate blooms occurred off east coast Tasmania in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017. It is likely that other toxic algal blooms occurred in Tasmanian waters in the distant past but then disappeared. By examining a broad range of plankton microfossils in seafloor sediments, researchers will examine the long-term record of the algal blooms. By understanding ocean conditions associated with the blooms, researchers will be able to more easily predict future events.
The voyage will support education and outreach activities under the CSIRO Educator on Board Program, and includes a journalist from ABC News in Hobart and a documentary film crew. There are two supplementary projects on the voyage:
- Spatial and temporal variability in the distribution and abundance of seabirds (Dr Eric Woehler, BirdLife Australia): Project to study the spatial and temporal distribution of seabirds and marine animals in the oceans around Australia (multi-year project).
- Sea trials of remote-ROAM ocean modelling package (CMDR Annalise Pearson, Royal Australian Navy): Project to test the Bluelink mobile oceanographic modelling system (referred to as Remote-ROAM) developed by CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology for use by the Royal Australian Navy.
As a result of this voyage, researchers have collected sediment samples that will allow for the analysis of diatom and dinoflagellate microfossils, and ancient DNA molecular sequences covering an expected 1000-2000 years record (and potentially greater time period). These samples came from a series of sediment cores successfully recovered from the Mercury passage off Maria Island, a region that was above sea level approximately 10,000 years ago.
These data will provide a significant increase in our knowledge of Australian plankton, which currently does not reach back beyond 1940. The results will put the current episode of climate-driven changes to the East Australian Current in a broader context.
Education, outreach and media activities conducted during the voyage reached a wide audience and will help increase awareness and understanding of marine science, as well as promote interest in this field of study.
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