IMOS Australian Plankton Survey

A calanoid copepod (Image: Anita Slotwinski/TAFI)

The IMOS Australian Plankton Survey is a joint project of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research (CMAR) and the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) to measure plankton communities as a guide to the health of Australia's oceans.

The survey is part of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), a national collaborative program to observe Australia's marine environments. IMOS is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training.

A planktonic fish egg (Image: Anita Slotwinski/TAFI)

The aims of the IMOS Australian Plankton Survey are to:

  • map plankton biodiversity and distribution
  • develop the first long-term plankton baseline for Australian waters
  • document plankton changes in response to climate change
  • provide indices for fisheries management
  • detect harmful algal blooms
  • validate satellite remote sensing
  • initialise and test ecosystem models
Red-tide causing dinoflagellate (Image: Anita Slotwinski/TAFI)

Servicing and maintenance of the CPRs and analysis of the samples for the IMOS Australian Plankton Survey will be carried out by staff based at the CMAR laboratories in Dutton Park, Brisbane and Floreat, Perth, and at the Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart.

The dataset will be made freely available according to the IMOS data policy and should provide researchers and policy makers with environmental and climatic indicators on harmful algal blooms, eutrophication, pollution, climate change and fisheries.

The survey program will ensure that we monitor the long-term health of our oceans by listening to its biological heartbeat - the changes in the plankton.

We thank the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS), who since 1931 have run the largest plankton monitoring program in the world, for their considerable support during the initiation of the IMOS Australian Plankton Survey.


For more information on the IMOS Australian Plankton Survey see links below.