Marine geoscience takes centre stage

26 June 2014

Satellite data showing a strong Leeuwin Current indicated by warmer Sea Surface Temperatures than surrounding waters, flowing southward and eastward around Cape Leeuwin off Western Australia into the Great Australian Bight. The colour range from green to red indicates increasing temperature. Land is indicated in grey to the right of the image.

MODIS image based on satellite data
obtained in May 2008 showing a
strong Leeuwin Current around
Cape Leeuwin off Western Australia
indicated by warmer Sea Surface
Temperatures (SST). The colour range
from green to red indicates increasing

A marine coastal setting seems like the most likely location for the annual conference of the Australian Marine Sciences Association - however this year it is being held in Canberra.

Understanding the importance of marine research to Australia's economy and to furthering our knowledge of Australia's vast marine jurisdiction is rapidly growing. An important aim of the upcoming 2014 Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) conference, taking place in Canberra in early July, is to better connect marine scientists with our decision makers.

The conference is due to be opened by Australia's Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, with representatives from Australia¿s peak marine science organisations giving presentations on a range of topical issues including biodiversity conservation, seabed mapping and climate change.

Talks by Geoscience Australia staff will follow the theme of the conference: Investigating Our Marine Nation, and cover a range of topics, from seabed mapping through to use of satellite data and geoscience data to support marine planning.

Dr Zhi Huang, will present details of research on the long-term patterns of variation in ocean currents, including changes in the Leeuwin Current along the coast of Western Australia. This work builds upon 10 years of existing satellite data to help identify changes in the Leeuwin Current. These variations in sea surface temperatures have been found to influence the distribution and abundance of fish and other marine biota both on the shelf and adjacent coast.

Dr Brendan Brooke will explore the important applications of seabed environmental baseline data to the sustainable development of Australia¿s marine resources.

Dr Peter Harris will outline the central role seabed mapping is playing as part of the United Nations World Ocean Assessment project. Australia is currently contributing to this assessment of the health of the world¿s oceans, being undertaken by over 500 marine experts from around the world, due to be delivered by the end of 2014.

Geoscience Australia¿s marine research is undertaken to provide fundamental geoscience information to support responsible resource development and better inform planning and protection in the Australian marine estate.

More information on the AMSA conference is available via the conference website.