Research voyages 2019

Voyage #, date & ports

Voyage summary 


17 January-6 March 2019

Hobart to Hobart

Availability of Antarctic krill to large predators and their role in Southern Ocean biogeochemical recycling (Chief Scientist: Dr Michael Double, AAD)

Many Antarctic animals, including penguins, seals and whales, are dependent upon krill for food. Krill swarms can be deep or shallow, dense or diffuse but how the forms are distributed in time and space is poorly known. By mapping the distribution of blue whales and krill we will determine whether krill predators target particular forms of krill and if such forms are common. We will also assess whether whales fertilise the ocean through their nutrient-rich faeces. These whale-krill relationships and the role of whales in maintaining ecosystem health will inform the management of expanding Antarctic krill fisheries.


12 March-5 April 2019

Hobart to Hobart

Integrated Monitoring Observing System Time Series automated moorings for climate and carbon cycle studies southwest of Tasmania (Chief Scientist: Professor Tom Trull, ACE-CRC)

The Southern Ocean Time Series provides world-leading automated observations from deep-ocean moorings of the exchanges of heat, water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen between the ocean and atmosphere, and the physical and biological processes that control them. These results contribute to forward projections of anthropogenic climate warming, inform the setting of emissions targets, illuminate controls on climate variability, and provide a baseline for impacts on ocean pelagic ecology.  Sensor data is returned live to the internet and samples are returned annually for further study in shore laboratories.

Surface and subsurface subantarctic Biogeochemistry of Carbon and Iron, Southern Ocean Time Series site (Lead Principal Investigator: Prof Philip Boyd, UTAS)

The Southern Ocean straddles the waters between Australia and Antarctica and has two distinct regions – the subantarctic and the polar seas. The latter is comprehensively studied by expeditions by Australia’s Antarctic Division, whereas the subantarctic has received much less attention. This voyage aims to determine processes within the subantarctic environment that control productivity, foodwebs and cycles of elements such as carbon. Enhanced understanding will maximise investments, such as in ocean time-series in subpolar waters, and enable better predictions to be made on how marine life and chemistry are controlled by both natural and human-made shifts in climate and ocean conditions.


29 April-9 May 2019

Hobart to Fremantle

Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN) (Chief Scientist: Dr Leanne Armand, Macquarie University)

CAPSTAN is a post-graduate at sea training initiative on RV Investigator. Governed by a network of leading industry and university partners from within marine science and geoscience, CAPSTAN is a first of its kind programme which will transform the way marine science education is delivered for generations to come.

A truly national education initiative, CAPSTAN was designed to develop a national approach to teaching and learning in the marine sciences whilst also providing a platform for institutional, industrial and generational knowledge transfer and collaboration on-board Australia’s principal research vessel, Investigator.


13 May-13 June 2019

Fremantle to Fremantle

A coupled bio-physical, ecosystem-scale, examination of Australia’s International Indian Ocean Expedition line (Chief Scientist: Prof Lynnath Beckley, Murdoch University)

This voyage revisits part of the Australian EEZ (110oE) last studied five decades ago when a baseline was established for the physical, chemical and biological oceanography of this atypical ocean region. As part of the second International Indian Ocean Expedition, we will put a multidisciplinary, world-leading team aboard the RV Investigator to undertake an integrated oceanic ecosystem study incorporating physical processes, nitrogen sources, primary productivity, food webs and bio-optics. This study will assess the effects of climate change on Australia’s ocean domain against the 1960s benchmark and contribute to development of mathematical models to assist in management of Australia’s oceans.


7 August-3 September 2019

Cairns to Brisbane

Hotspot dynamics in the Coral Sea: connections between the Australian plate and deep Earth (Chief Scientist: Dr Joanne Whittaker, University of Tasmania)

In a handful of locations on Earth, hot material rises from deep within the Earth to create lines of volcanoes such as the Hawaiian-Emperor Seamount Chain. We aim to test if the Tasmantid and Lord Howe Seamount chains, hidden in the seas off eastern Australia, should be included in this rare group and if the Louisiade Plateau to the north could have formed from the massive flood of basaltic lava triggered when a rising plume reaches the surface.


8 September-1 October 2019

Brisbane to Brisbane

Integrated Marine Observing System: monitoring of East Australian Current property transports at 27oS (Chief Scientist: Dr Bernadette Sloyan, CSIRO).

The East Australian Current (EAC) is the complex and highly energetic western boundary current of the South Pacific Ocean.  The EAC is the dominant mechanism for the redistribution of heat and freshwater between the ocean and atmosphere in the Australian region; it is a vital component of the eastern Australian coastal ecosystem. The monitoring of the EAC is central to our understanding of how climate variability is communicated through the global ocean. This ocean current time-series will provide significant insights into the interactions between the EAC, the Pacific basin and the local shelf ocean circulation.


19 October-18 December 2019

Darwin to Darwin

Maritime Continent observations of atmospheric convection, biogenic emissions, ocean vertical mixing, and the Indonesian Throughflow (Chief Scientist: Dr Alain Protat, BOM)

Accurate predictions of Australia’s regional weather and climate require accurate representations of atmospheric and oceanic processes in our prediction models over the entire globe, and not just over Australia. However, some global locations are more important than others, and one is the region known as the ‘Maritime Continent’, comprising the islands and seas of Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea, and surrounds. This voyage will form part of a larger international effort to tackle the problems of the Maritime Continent in our models by making detailed observations of the daily cycles of convective storms and the mixing of heat in the atmosphere and ocean.


Updated: 27 March 2018