Over a year, Michael Veitch interviewed the men and women who worked on board the RV Southern Surveyor to produce an account of their adventures.


Over the course of a year, one of Australia’s best non-fiction writers Michael Veitch, interviewed the men and women who worked on board CSIRO’s Marine National Facility research vessel Southern Surveyor, to produce an engaging and sometimes dramatic account of their adventures.

For ten years, the Southern Surveyor represented the vanguard of Australian blue water marine science.

On over 100 voyages, this former North Sea fishing trawler with her distinctive blue and white livery carried scientists and technicians across the Southern, Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as the waters off northern Australia.

The book includes a chapter on University of Technology Sydney’s biological oceanographer, Dr Martina Doblin, who discovered shortages of nitrogen along the East Australian Current.

“On board Southern Surveyor, my team examined communities of tiny organisms known as microbes, to work out how much carbon dioxide they could absorb into their cells,” Dr Doblin said.

“Almost as soon as we sailed east of Sydney, there was a change in water temperature which coincided with a change in the microbial community, which absorbed carbon dioxide at a lower rate,”

‘It’s important to understand how these organisms respond to increases in carbon dioxide and temperature because this will give us an indication of the future state of Australia’s oceans.”

“We also discovered there was a shortage of nitrogen along the East Australian Current, which is an essential nutrient for growth and we’re still working out what that will mean for future fisheries management.”

“The ocean is worth over $44 billion annually to Australia’s economy and needs to be managed wisely for the future – marine science is playing a key role,” Dr Doblin said.


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