Southern Australia Moorings

What are Southern Australia Moorings?

Southern Australia Moorings is responsible for an array of regional moorings designed to monitor the current systems and biogeochemistry of the South Australian coast. Moorings are currently located at 4 locations including a shelf mooring off Coffin Bay, eastern Spencer Gulf, upper Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent off Adelaide. Southern Australia Moorings are also responsible for maintaining the Kangaroo Island National Reference Station.

The moorings located off Coffin Bay and eastern Spencer Gulf in combination with the National Reference Station at Kangaroo Island provide vital information on coastal upwelling of the region, outflow of the Spencer Gulf and the increasing influence of key currents of the region (the Leeuwin Current, Tasman Outflow and Flinders Current). Both the Spencer and St Vincent Gulf’s support key fisheries, aquaculture and provide nursery grounds for many juvenile fish species. The moorings located in upper Spence Gulf and Gulf St Vincent are designed to provide long-term monitoring of these regions, informing the human impacts of these estuary systems from growing populations, mining and agriculture.    

Key Data Streams

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).

Mark Doubell