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Voyage Number


Voyage Dates

10 Jun, 2021 to 23 Jun, 2021

Voyage Location

Brisbane to Darwin

Chief Scientist

Dr Viena Puigcorbé (shore-based)


Edith Cowan University

Transit voyage from Brisbane to Darwin to relocate the vessel in preparation for its next research voyage IN2021_V04. During the transit, several research and training projects will be undertaken.

The Chief Scientist on this voyage will lead (*see note below) a project to study the movement of carbon from surface to deep water in the Coral Sea. The study will also investigate the interaction of microbes in this process. High-throughput genomic techniques will be used to generate a detailed view of the microbial communities of the Coral Sea, including both the dominant organisms and those in low abundance. These data will be used to deepen our understanding of the relationship between carbon movement and ocean microbes.

The voyage also includes the following research and training projects:

  • Microplastics in the food chain: impact on the microbial and planktonic organisms (Dr Sophie Leterme, Flinders University – shore-based)
  • Linking the Biological Carbon Pump flux to microbial colonisation of sinking particles in the Southern Ocean in the Coral Sea (Dr Viena Puigcorbé, Edith Cowan University – shore-based)
  • Flow cytometric classification of the phytoplankton community across Australia’s top end (Dr Allison McInnes, Queensland University of Technology shore-based)
  • Dinoflagellates and broader planktonic assemblage observation (Dr Matt Gordon, Defence Science and Technology Group – shore-based)
  • BGC-Argo float deployment (Prof Tom Trull, CSIRO – shore-based)
  • Cosmic ray measurements (Dr Grahame Rosolen, CSIRO – shore-based)
  • Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship – ITSS (Ms Hannah McCleary, CSIRO)

The science team on this voyage includes 21 participants from 3 institutions. This will be the second voyage to include the Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship (ITSS) Program, with the third student in this program joining the voyage.

* This voyage has been impacted by the COVID lockdown in Melbourne, with several participants unable to join the voyage. The voyage will be led ‘virtually’ by Chief Scientist Dr Viena Puigcorbé from Edith Cowan University, who will support the voyage from on shore.

COVID-19 Protocols

To safeguard the health and well-being of participants, strict COVID-19 protocols will apply to all activities on this voyage, including testing of all participants for COVID-19 prior to departure.

For further information about the MNF COVID-19 Protocols, visit Restart of at-sea operations following COVID-19 shutdown

Voyage outcomes

While the primary objective of this voyage was to move RV Investigator in preparation for its next research voyage, the transit provided the opportunity to deliver one supplementary project and six piggyback projects. These projects related to the study of ocean plankton and microbial communities, ocean properties including presence of microplastics, and cosmic ray measurements.

Research conducted has provided a better understanding of the quantity of plastics and zooplankton communities in waters off the Queensland and Northern Territory coast and their vertical distributions. It has also allowed the quantification of how much plastic is ingested by zooplankton, which will help us understand how microplastics are impacting ocean ecosystems and processes such as carbon flux.

The data collected on this voyage will be supplemented with data collected on several additional voyages in the future. The plastic quantifications will be paired with water property data collected on the voyage to develop a comprehensive model of how plastics move in ocean features and inform us of potential hotspots of plastic aggregations on our coastlines.

Voyage media

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