Southern Australia Moorings


The Southern Australia Moorings sub-facility is based at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) in Adelaide and is responsible for regional moorings and the conduct of field cruises where sampling of biophysical data are undertaken.  These measurements are designed to monitor both the climate and climate variability of the shelf currents systems and basic biogeochemistry with particular regard to:

  1. seasonal coastal upwelling brings cold, nutrient rich waters onto the shelf off the Bonny Coast and Kangaroo Island (see Figure 1 above) which boosts primary productivity, creating one of the most extensive and productive coastal marine ecosystems in Australian waters. 
  2. the extensive winter-time dense water outflows that result from (year round) evaporation and winter time cooling of the gulfs
  3. connectivity of boundary currents with those from the west (the Leeuwin Currents and ENSO events) and east (the Tasmanian outflow and Flinders Current.

Instrumentation and Data

For the period 2008 to 2015, the regional array consisted of at least three shelf moorings (see Figure below) located in the path of the upwelled/downwelled exchange. The blue dots are CTD cast sites, green dots & red rings are mooring and biological sampling sites. The red star is the SAIMOS national reference station site (NRSKAI).  The mooring SAM5CB monitors shelf currents driven within the Great Australian Bight. The Spencer Gulf mooring SAM8SG monitors outflows from the Spencer Gulf that are expected for winter and the along isobath upwelling expected for summer. The national reference station (NRSKAI) monitors a combination of these current systems. Moorings on the shelf slope (SAM7DS) were deployed to monitor the deep Flinders Current.

In addition to monitoring currents (using RDI Workhorse ADCP’s),  CTD Niskin bottle cast sampling was undertaken at the biological stations for dissolved nutrients, including Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC) and Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), Particulate Inorganic Matter (PIM), Particulate Organic Matter (POM) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS).

Biological water samples are made to determine microbial biodiversity, phytoplankton species and abundances (including bacteria/viruses and picoplankton populations), zooplankton species and abundances (including Ichthyoplankton) and phytoplankton chlorophyll pigments (HPLC).

Useful links


A. Prof John Middleton and SARDI Oceanography


Marine Innovation Southern Australia

Your access to the IMOS Southern Australia Moorings data discovery and exploration is through the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) Portal.