National Mooring Network

What is the National Mooring Network?

The National Mooring Network is a collection of mooring arrays strategically positioned in Australian coastal waters. The National Mooring Network measures physical and biological parameters, and includes regional arrays of shelf moorings, acidification moorings, acoustic observatories and a network of National Reference Stations that include additional vessel-based sampling.

The National Reference Stations deliver long-term time series observations which are critical for defining key components of climate change and associated responses of ocean ecosystems. Currently seven NRS are in operation around Australia (Kangaroo Island, Yongala, Stradbroke Island, Darwin, Maria Island, Port Hacking and Rottnest Island), building on the three long-term locations (Maria Island, Rottnest Island and Port Hacking), where monthly water sampling for physical and biological parameters have been in operation since the 1940’s.

The IMOS shelf moorings are deployed in a wide range of configurations (cross shelf arrays, mooring pairs and single moorings), and are designed to characterise and monitor regional processes on the continental shelf. In some locations, shelf moorings are linked to Deep Water Arrays.

Acidification moorings are co-located at some National Reference Station sites to collect the full suite of parameters needed to characterise the concentration of acidification and provide key observations to help us understand and address the problem of increasing ocean acidification.

Acoustic Observatories, which ceased operations in December 2017 passively record sound from the ocean. The data, which is still available via the AODN Portal provide baseline data on ambient oceanic noise, detection of fish and mammal vocalisations linked to ocean productivity and the detection of underwater events.  

The National Mooring Network consists of ten different Sub-Facilities.


The National Mooring Network (NMN) is the largest, most complex and most multi-institutional IMOS Facility.  Four institutions (CSIRO, AIMS, SIMS/UNSW and SARDI) have day-to-day responsibilities for components of the National Reference Station (NRS) network and the network of regional shelf arrays. 

To ensure we have appropriate mechanisms in place to discuss, agree on and implement IMOS-standard approaches to important issues with network-wide implications, the National Reference Station network and the network of regional shelf arrays is governed by two Facility steering committees. The first committee is the NMN Mooring Steering Committee consisting of the sub-facility leaders of the mooring network and IMOS Office, this committee oversees the sensor based moorings. The second committee is the Mooring network Biogeochemical (BGC) Steering Committee, this committee oversees the vessel based sampling in the NRS and the BGC/biological components of the network, and consists of experts in the BGC-Biological field.

Mooring network Biogeochemical Steering Committee Terms of Reference.

This arrangement does not include the Acidification and Passive Acoustic sub-facilities which are led by their own sub-facility leaders.

For many of the parameters collected by the National mooring network Facility, quality control processes and data standards documentation can be found HERE