On a research voyage two types of science are carried out – underway science and project science.
Credit: Pete Harmsen
Investigator is a sophisticated modern research vessel that monitors the surrounding environment. This information is used by the Master and crew for the safe operation of the vessel. It is also used by scientists to support their research program.
In addition to the data collected to run the vessel there are many other scientific instruments that monitor the surrounding environment and provide a wealth of information for scientists.
To be able to use data from a variety of instruments and link them to samples collected requires a very accurate system to indicate position, time and date.
The ability to combine datasets is a very powerful tool that greatly expands the amount of information available to scientists so they can better understand what they are observing.
On every voyage there is a MNF technician who maps the seabed. This information enables 3D maps to be created. The information is important for scientists and is also used by Geoscience Australia.
The data from underway science is collected on all voyages and forms an important component of the science data for the voyage.
Project science is carried out by scientists that have applied for sea time who go on board Investigator. The data from project science may be generated by MNF equipment that is used by the scientists or by equipment they bring on board for the voyage.
Project science may involve collecting plankton from which measurements are taken on the voyage or samples may be returned to land for analysis. This science may also involve leaving instruments in the ocean, such as moorings, gliders and Argo floats, and collecting the results later when the instrument is retrieved or when it transmits data back via satellite.
With project science the objectives of the science team determines the science carried out.
Updated: 04 March 2016