With Australian Antarctic science increasingly focusing on Southern Ocean studies, in 2001–2002 the Australian Antarctic Division is undertaking two marine science voyages, bringing together scientists and technicians from research organisations across Australia and the world. AAD science support staff have a major role in preparing for and participating in these voyages.
The first of two marine science cruises this summer, Voyage 3, will be a seven-week voyage from late October supporting about 80 scientists and technicians gathering data on many aspects of the oceans, sea ice, atmosphere, and the range of life within them.
Besides prioritising requests from scientists to ensure maximum support, AAD science support staff will be:
- ensuring that the 10 built-in and 9 portable laboratories aboard Aurora Australis are ready.
- designing and building 600-litre non-contaminating microcosm containers for growing and studying phytoplankton.
- organising installation of a crane on the ship’s bow to enable ultra pure water sampling undisturbed by the ship while the vessel moves at slow speed.
- providing and operating instruments to collect environmental data during the voyage, including continuous wind, salinity, fluorescence (a measure of phytoplankton activity), position, speed, heading, solar radiation, depth and other hydro-acoustic data.
- operating conductivity-temperature-depth(CTD) instruments, to be lowered up to 6000 metres to the ocean floor to collect samples of the water at specific depths and measure its properties.
- developing a bow-deployed pump system, upgrading a gantry system for moving CTD equipment on deck, providing computer and other electronics support and integrating external researchers’ equipment.
Science Technical Support Manager,
Australian Antarctic Division