Great Australian Bight Research Program researchers from SARDI, CSIRO, BP, University of Adelaide and Flinders University met at SARDI Aquatic Sciences last week. Credit:SARDI


Smart science supporting sustainable development of the Great Australian Bight

A major research program on the marine ecosystems of the Great Australian Bight was a “great example of the expanding use and value of the national Integrated Marine Observing System to Australian science and industry,” according to IMOS director, Tim Moltmann

Mr Moltmann was among leading marine and socio-economic scientists from around Australia who gathered at SARDI Aquatic Sciences near Adelaide last week (Nov 5 and 6) to review progress on one of the largest and most exciting whole-of-ecosystem studies to be undertaken in Australia – the Great Australian Bight Research Program.

Mr Moltmann said that significant data collections generated through IMOS and the Southern Australian Integrated Observing System (SAIMOS) would be used by many of the 100 GAB researchers to help understand the ocean’s changing environment and its effect on marine organisms and animals.

More than 50 researchers from BP, CSIRO, SARDI, the University of Adelaide and Flinders University, met to share their research plans and early findings across the program’s seven themes of oceanography, pelagic ecosystems, benthic biodiversity, apex predators, socio-economic analysis, petroleum geology and geochemistry, and integration and modelling.

The four-year $20 million program will improve understanding of the environmental, economic and social values of the Great Australian Bight.

In welcoming participants, Dr Rod Lukatelich, from BP, said all partners shared a common goal to better understand the GAB ecosystem to ensure informed and sustainable management of the region.

GAB Research Program Director, Dr Steve Lapidge, said a focus of the symposium was to ensure researchers from the program’s seven themes were collaborating effectively and understood each other’s research needs to ensure that the large program remains fully integrated.

“We have more than 100 researchers from several major institutions involved in this program and much of the success of each group’s work depends on the knowledge being gathered by the Program’s other research themes. At the end of the program, all the outcomes must be integrated into computer models of the entire Great Australian Bight ecosystem, so it is really important that we operate cohesively.”

The Great Australian Bight Research Program is a collaboration between BP, CSIRO, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the University of Adelaide, and Flinders University.

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