This year, we have structured the Annual Highlights document into four sections, consistent with our Five-Year Plan i.e. broadscale, backbone, regional and national.
Broadscale facilities play a vital role in connecting IMOS to the global ocean observing system. This brings tremendous benefits through access to additional observations, data and knowledge from many international collaborators. Understanding local issues such as future sea levels in Australia’s coastal cities, and future ocean temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef, relies on access to this global information.
Backbone facilities provide a centrepiece for IMOS as a national collaborative research infrastructure. By focusing on building large datasets and long-time series for widespread use and reuse, they create mechanisms for science communities to come together in ways that simply were not possible in the pre-NCRIS era. We now see the animal tracking community making great use of the 70 million detections of 125 species built up in a national database. We see the benthic ecology community making great use of 4 million, precisely georeferenced images collected by the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle facility. Importantly, we see these science outputs being used in policy and management e.g. to assess the State of the (Marine) Environment, and the status of threatened, endangered and protected species.
Regional facilities enable IMOS to intensify effort in areas of high social, economic and environmental value. They are central to the highly productive partnership that IMOS has fostered with the ocean modelling community. This is particularly important because decision makers need ocean forecasts and scenario models to determine what to do next. By making these more accurate and less uncertain, IMOS observations and data can impact the future. Annual highlights demonstrate the relevance of IMOS on the Great Barrier Reef, the New South Wales coast, the Great Australian Bight, and the West Australian coast.
National facilities enable IMOS to be much more than the sum of its parts. A fundamental component is our unerring focus data discovery, access, use and reuse via the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN). AODN is now officially recognised as Australia's ocean data facility, both nationally and internationally. Access to 'non-IMOS' data via AODN grew impressively over the past year, and this is key to how we will increase use and impact over time. IMOS OceanCurrent adds value to observations and data by providing daily products of interest to the scientific community as well as to other users, such as fishers, sailors and ocean swimmers.
All of the achievements of the past year were underpinned by continued, excellent performance of IMOS operating institutions. The program had 295 milestones for the year, of which 90% were achieved and a further 6% in progress at 30 June 2017. An outstanding effort by all of the scientific, technical and administrative staff involved in running the program on a day to day basis.
The Annual Highlights document is published online and is available to download and read here.