Australia's final frontier - the Ocean

19 August 2005

Did you know that Australia has rights and responsibilities in the ocean which are similar to those for our land mass?

On Sunday 21 August, Geoscience Australia marine scientist Dr Peter Harris will share his knowledge of Australia's sea floor geology with visitors to Geoscience Australia's annual Open Day, part of the celebrations of National Science Week. The talk will include a 'virtual' flight around Australia's oceans courtesy of some high-tech 3D imagery developed by Geoscience Australia.

As Group Leader of the organisation's Marine & Coastal Environment program, Peter believes there's so much more to discover about our ocean territory.

"The Earth is our home, yet scientists know relatively little about the underwater regions of our planet, particularly in comparison with what is known about other planets", said Peter. "We are still making new discoveries, like coral reefs in the Gulf of Carpentaria, but there's still a lot more to learn about how the physical environment can change and affect life in the ocean."

"We have come a long way in the last few decades," said Peter, "and thanks to new technology, we can even see what it would be like to fly around Australia's marine zone if all the water were removed".

Geoscience Australia's Marine and Coastal Environmental Group provides advice and products as required by government to meet its goals in the implementation of the National Ocean's Policy within Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone and to assist implement the Government's strategic science goal of "preservation and maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem based management". The conservation of biodiversity is a responsibility of nations, like Australia, that have ratified the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

In addition to Peter's talk on mapping the ocean floor, there will also be talks about mineral exploration, petroleum exploration, the Boxing Day tsunami and what maps will look like in the future. Other activities at Geoscience Australia's free Open Day include gold panning, rock identification, children's activities to make sun catchers and pet rocks and building tours. Opening hours are from 10am - 4pm. Geoscience Australia is located on the corner of Jerrabomberra Avenue and Hindmarsh Drive, Symonston.

Topic contact: Last updated: October 4, 2013