Australia’s marine jurisdiction is one of the world’s largest, but it is also one of the least explored. Marine research is vital for climate prediction, ecosystem management, marine safety and harm abatement for offshore industries.
In 2005, the Australian Government committed $50 million through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to establish an Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). In a true paradigm shift in Australian marine research, IMOS has created an enhanced, nationally integrated capacity to collect marine data, draw it together and make it accessible to researchers and other users.
IMOS is coordinated by the University of Tasmania, supported by CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. It involves a large number of universities, research agencies and government agencies around Australia. International organisations, such as the USA’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography, are also taking part.
NCRIS funds support the provision of the wide range of instrumentation needed to observe Australia’s marine estate effectively. Support is also provided for the eMarine Information Infrastructure to store, analyse, retrieve and share data once it has been collected.
In May 2009 the Australian government committed a further $52 million through the Super Science Initiative to enhance and extend IMOS.
"The first phase of IMOS, as a foundation for a sustained long-term ocean observing system has been regarded internationally as a leading component of the Global Ocean Observing System (www.ioc-goos.org)."
Dr Keith Alverson is the Chief of Ocean Observations and Services at IOC/UNESCO, and the Director of the GOOS Project Office.
"As a new process for developing research infrastructure in Australia NCRIS has placed a heavy demand on researchers to get their act together, literally, and work together towards common goals. Ultimately, this collaboration will provide greater benefit to Australia than working on interesting but individualistic research projects."
Professor Gary Meyers is the former Director of the Integrated Marine Observing System.
The Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) is a distributed set of equipment, data, and information services covering the oceans around Australia. Collectively they will contribute to meeting the needs of marine research and other uses in Australia based on data in both open oceans and coastal oceans.
The elements of IMOS are widely-distributed, coordinated and managed by the IMOS Office at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). The infrastructure is being operated by a range of institutions under agreements with the IMOS Office.
The CSIRO operates five IMOS elements: Argo Australia, which deploys autonomous floats to collect subsurface marine data; the Ships of Opportunity Project (SOOP), which enables instruments for underway data collection (CSIRO jointly operates SOOP with UTAS and the Bureau of Meteorology); Southern Ocean Time Series Observations, which enables long-term time-series marine observations; the Australian National Mooring Network, which deploys and operates a network of fixed moorings around Australia, and; Satellite Remote Sensing, which produces standard ocean remote-sensing datasets, archives and provides access to these datasets, and upgrades existing satellite ground- stations in Hobart and Townsville.
The University of Western Australia is operating the Australian National Facility for Ocean Gliders, which deploys and navigates ocean gliders for subsurface marine observations.
The Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) is operating two IMOS elements: the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Facility, which enhances and deploys autonomous underwater vehicles for marine observations, and; the Australian Acoustic Tagging and Monitoring System, to track large fauna in coastal and continental shelf ecosystems.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) operates the Facility for Automated Intelligent Monitoring of Marine Systems, which deploys advanced sensor networks to collect real-time data at the spatial and temporal scales required to understand complex marine processes, particularly those involving the interface between pelagic and benthic environments.
The James Cook University operates the Australian Coastal Ocean Radar Network, which deploys and operates radar systems to observe coastal currents and waves.
The University of Tasmania operates the eMarine Information Infrastructure (eMII) facility, which provides a single integrative framework for data and information management, that allows discovery and access of the data by scientists, managers and the public in real time. Through the IMOS Ocean Portal launched in June 2009, eMII provides the fundamental linking component to all other investments in IMOS. After data is collected, eMII: stores, analyses, retrieves and shares it, together with related information; provides the tools to enable researchers to access and use it, and so supports Australia’s marine science researchers and other marine data users.
For further information, please see the home page of the Integrated Marine Observing System at http://www.imos.org.au/
For enquiries about the Integrated Marine Observing System, please contact:
Mr Tim Moltmann
Integrated Marine Observing System
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 110
HOBART TAS 7001
Tel: +61 3 6226 2767
For matters related to management of the NCRIS program, please contact the NCRIS Team by email or by telephone on 02 6213 6025.