Antarctic diving

Marine research is a vital component of Australia's Antarctic science program.

A huge variety of scientific projects investigate both the physical and biological components of the marine environment, from oceans to coasts, and from surface waters to the seabed. Many aspects of marine research are conducted remotely from boats and ships using specialised sampling equipment and instruments.

For some projects, however, the only useful way to obtain results is to get into the water to make observations, collect samples and to manually deploy and retrieve experiments.

In 1997 the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) established a multi-year summer diving program to support near-shore marine science.

Divers use dry suits and layers of thermal clothing to keep warm in Antarctica
Divers use dry suits and layers of thermal clothing to keep warm in the -1.85°C waters of Antarctica.
Photo: Paul Goldsworthy & Martin Riddle
A diver runs out a transect line during a survey of the seabed near Casey station.
A diver runs out a transect line during a survey of the seabed near Casey station.

Initially, the program focused on research into marine contamination at Casey station. The scope and type of supported research has broadened considerably since then with a wide variety of  Australian and international research programs are made possible by the dive team's efforts.

Although based at Casey station in the past, diving is now conducted at Davis. It may be conducted in other more remote locations in the Australian Antarctic Territory in the future.

For more information, email diving.

This page was last modified on 27 June 2002.