THE FOLLOWING MEDIA RELEASE WAS DISTRIBUTED BY CSIRO ON 25 AUGUST 2014.
A world class oceanographic research instrument has arrived at CSIRO in Hobart to be part of the suite of on board equipment on Australia’s new Marine National Facility research vessel, Investigator.
The TRIAXUS is made from carbon fibre, hydrodynamically designed to be towed up to 3km behind the ship and to collect data quickly, while flying from the surface down to 350m in an undisturbed marine environment.
The Executive Director of the Future Research Vessel Project, Toni Moate, said the equipment is vital to the work of oceanographers.
Biological oceanographers will use it to collect data on phytoplankton, salinity, temperature and light levels, to determine the health of the ocean.
Physical oceanographers will use the TRIAXUS to collect data about ocean currents descending undersea canyons, or when cooler waters are forced to the surface by ocean dynamics.
Data from the TRIAXUS will also be used by meteorologists to improve weather and climate forecasting.
“The scientists on board Investigator will be able to control the flight path of the TRIAXUS, to develop a 2D picture of the ocean across hundreds of kilometres,” Ms Moate said.
Dr Lindsay Pender from the Future Research Vessel Project Technical Team said it is critical to understand how the ocean interplays with the production of phytoplankton.
“The TRIAXUS will be used to estimate the amount of phytoplankton (small floating plants), which are the start of the food chain in the oceans,” Dr Pender said.
“The equipment collects the data by shining a blue light onto the phytoplankton, which then emits a fluorescent signal.”
“The returning fluorescent signal is measured by a fluorometer mounted on the TRIAXUS, and these data are used to determine where fish and other animals in the ocean start their lives, and the location of their food sources.”
The TRIAXUS was purchased for $400,000 from MacArtney Australia.