RV Investigator in Sydney!

The Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator arrived in Sydney earlier this week, which made for some spectacular photos of the ship against grey clouds and a dark harbour!

The 94 metre vessel tied alongside at the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Base East, in Woolloomooloo, which is known as Garden Island.

Check out the aerial photos.

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Measuring an ocean of change


Researchers head to the seas off the east coast of Australia today on Australia’s new Marine National Facility research vessel, Investigator, to put in place ongoing measurements to track the vast volumes of water that influence our weather and climate.

“The East Australian Current sets the whole structure of the Tasman Sea,” CSIRO scientist and voyage leader Dr Bernadette Sloyan said.

“It influences our climate, the ecosystem, commercial and recreational fishing, much of what we see on the coast.

“If the current wasn’t there, we’d have a very different Tasman Sea.”

Dr Sloyan said the current was also a key component of global ocean circulation, moving heat, freshwater and nutrients around the South Pacific.

It moves massive amounts of water – each second transporting more than 25 million cubic metres of water, or 10,000 Olympic swimming pools, southwards.

“The voyage will deploy six large moorings, from the continental slope to the deep ocean off Brisbane,” Dr Sloyan said.

“This is where the East Australian Current approaches its maximum strength and its flow is relatively uniform so we can measure the current’s average flow and how it varies over time.”

The collaboration between CSIRO, the Marine National Facility and the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) will enable the maintenance of multi-year monitoring of the current.

“The East Australian Current shows variations over a range of timescales from seasonal to decadal,” IMOS Director Tim Moltmann said.

“Much of what we know about the current has come from irregularly distributed observations collected over many decades.

“What is lacking is a sustained time-series of observations of the East Australian Current across its entire extent and of sufficient duration to understand seasonal, interannnual and decadal signals.

“The IMOS observations will provide significant new insights into the variable nature of the East Australian Current.”

Dr Sloyan said the current had important implications for Australia’s weather and climate.

“It is the dominant mechanism for the redistribution of tropical Pacific Ocean heat between the ocean and atmosphere in the Australian region,” she said.The waters in the Tasman Sea have warmed by more than 2oC, faster than other parts of the world’s oceans.

“Western boundary current regions, such as the EAC system, are highly variable and linked to large-scale ocean changes,” Dr Sloyan said.

“Monitoring the EAC therefore, provides information of the large-scale drivers of regional ocean change. These changes may result in subtropical marine species moving into temperate waters, altering the habitat of many species.”

Investigator is a 93.9 metre purpose-built research vessel, capable of travelling 10,000 nm in a single voyage, carrying up to 40 scientists and support staff, from the equator to the Antarctic ice-edge. The Marine National Facility is a blue-water research capability funded by the Australian Government. Under direction of an independent Steering Committee, it is owned and operated by CSIRO on behalf of the nation.

Would you look at that, CSIRO’s on Instagram!


When CSIRO got started way back in 1926, the telegram was one of the primary methods of communication. Almost a century on we’re still ‘graming’ but this time the medium is a little more… visual.

Yep, you guessed it: CSIRO got an Instagram account. If you are part of the Instagram community follow us @CSIROgram for a glimpse into our world of world-leading science.

We’ve already got a few pics up ready for you to like, and we’re even going to run a competition to celebrate (but more on that later).

Why Instagram?

We’re fortunate enough to see the marvels of science on a daily basis, we see the beauty of the Australian landscape – from the desert to the beach, the forest to the bush and all points in between. We see creatures great and infinitesimally small. We see incredible technology come to life, like advanced robotics, energy harvesting technologies and incredible ocean-faring vessels. Now we want to share this visual feast with you.

And to get things started, we’re running a competition.

Well, hello sailor

If you’re in the Sydney area this week, we want to see your best selfies with the Marine National Facility’s RV Investigator as it visits Sydney for the first time.

Which side is her good side? The RV Investigator will be our selfie celeb when the vessel arrives in Sydney

Which side is her good side? The RV Investigator will be our selfie celeb when the vessel arrives in Sydney

It’ll be coming through the Heads around 3pm to berth at Garden Island. Send us your best shots by using #CSIROgram for a chance to win a guided tour of the most impressive marine research vessel we’ve ever seen.

Why would you set yourself up for ridicule, as you whip out the selfie stick and bunch together with friends and family awkwardly in public? Prizes of course.

The selfie we decide is  the most interesting/special/amusing will win a tour on the RV Investigator when it’s back in Sydney on the 19th June, 2015. This is a rare opportunity, the ship isn’t open to the public and you would be one of the few  people (who aren’t marine biologists) to set foot on these hallowed decks.

We also have merchandise galore to giveaway for honorable mentions and runners up – over 100 items in fact.

The crew of the RV Investigator have laid down the challenge. This selfie was taken while en route to Sydney - can you do better? Image: L-R

The crew of the RV Investigator have laid down the challenge. This selfie was taken while off the Victorian coast en route to Sydney. Can you do better? Image: L-R Ben Rae, Tegan Sime and Alan Martin.

How do I win?

Step 1: Follow us on Instagram: @CSIROgram

Step 2: Find the RV Investigator in Sydney

Step 3: Take a picture of the vessel and upload it to Instagram using #CSIROgram. (If you aren’t on Instagram share your image on Facebook and Twitter– with the hashtag)

Step 4: Win prizes. Which prizes? These prizes.


  • Did I Win?: Winners will be chosen by CSIRO based on images uploaded to our social channels (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) which include the hashtag: #CSIROgram. The image adjudged to be the most interesting, unique or humourous will be declared the winner.
  • When and Where: The RV Investigator makes its way into Sydney passing the heads at approx. 3pm on Wednesday 13th May, 2015. The ship will be at Garden Island till 1800 Friday 15th May. That doesn’t give you a lot of time, but we are confident of some amazing images
  • Be a Follower: You must be following one of our accounts to be considered (whether it be submitted via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter)
  • Selfie sour-puss?: We want to see lots of selfies, but if you don’t feel comfortable being in the shot, we’re accepting any and all images of the Investigator – but you need to make it interesting
  • Not on Instagram?: Shame on you! But we don’t mind, share your pics with us on Facebook and Twitter and we will include those in the competition, if you include #CSIROgram
  • Be safe: The vessel will be docked at Garden Island won’t be accessible to the public. With this in mind we need to state that any image that is clearly taken from an unsafe or illegal location will not be permitted. We reserve the right to disallow any unsafe or dangerous images; be clever not reckless
  • The Tour: The winner of the tour must be available to attend the tour on Friday 19th June, 2015 at 9 AM – you will have to make your own arrangements to get to the ship which will be berthed in Sydney Harbour
    • Max. 4 people allowed to attend. All tour participants must be aged 13 or older
    • Participants must wear closed-toe shoes and trousers are recommended
    • No smoking, eating or drinking on board
    • Tour participants won’t be able to carry anything in their arms – no bags, dogs, walking sticks, etc
    • The tour is not recommended for people who suffer from claustrophobia
    • Tours span 6 of the ship’s 11 levels, and may prove challenging for people with mobility issues. Please consider whether this tour is right for you, before entering the competition
    • The tours are not transferable and must be taken on Friday 19th May, 2015 at 9AM
  • Runner up and honourable mention prizes: There are 100 prizes to be given away –  the exact combination given of prizes sent to the winners, will be determined after the competition has ended.

Want to run up and down the corridors and check out the cabins on RV Investigator?

Over the past few months we’ve been working on an incredible virtual tour of the Marine National Facility research vessel, Investigator and it’s now ready for you.

Why don’t you come on board and run up and down the corridors, walk up the gangway, poke your nose into the fridge and see what’s for breakfast, sneak into the off limits area for the drop keels, check out the cabins, laboratories, the bridge…  and… and… and…

It’s so awesome, you might never want to leave!

You can find the virtual tour at www.mnf.csiro.au

RV Investigator virtual tour

Museum Victoria’s update on the benthic trial voyage

Benthic biology trial voyage Benthic biology trial voyage Benthic biology trial voyage







So what happened on the benthic trial voyage on board RV Investigator?

Tim O’Hara from Museum Victoria has written a fabulous blog about his experiences and you should check it out!


Benthic biology trial voyage

We’re looking for you to have your say!

RV Investigator in the Derwent River (image CSIRO Chris McKay)

We’re looking for your feedback on how often the Marine National Facility calls for applications for sea time.

Over the years we’ve been listening to what you’ve been saying regarding how often the MNF calls for applications and in early February the MNF Steering Committee met and came up with two proposals.

We’d like you to read the discussion paper and let us know by 1600 AEST Thursday 14 May 2015 what you think.

Get to it, your contribution matters!




The creepy crawly, hairy scary critters from the benthic biological trial voyage!

RV Investigator has been south of Tasmania with a huge team of biologists from around Australia, on the benthic biology trial voyage.

The aim of the voyage was to test the sampling equipment used by benthic scientists and to develop safe handling procedures. Benthic marine science refers to being on and just below the seafloor.

On board were scientists from CSIRO, Museum Victoria, the Australian Museum, the University of Western Sydney, South Australia Museum and the University of Tasmania.

It was an exciting voyage where the weird and wonderful things that live in our oceans were collected from the sea floor and brought on board to be studied.

The words hairy scary, ooey gooey, creepy crawly, blimely slimy come to mind!

Check out the photos and see for yourself!

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