Research voyages 2019

Voyage #, date & ports

Voyage summary 


17 January-6 March 2019

Hobart to Hobart

Availability of Antarctic krill to large predators and their role in Southern Ocean biogeochemical recycling (Chief Scientist: Dr Michael Double, AAD)

Many Antarctic animals, including penguins, seals and whales, are dependent upon krill for food. Krill swarms can be deep or shallow, dense or diffuse but how the forms are distributed in time and space is poorly known. By mapping the distribution of blue whales and krill we will determine whether krill predators target particular forms of krill and if such forms are common. We will also assess whether whales fertilise the ocean through their nutrient-rich faeces. These whale-krill relationships and the role of whales in maintaining ecosystem health will inform the management of expanding Antarctic krill fisheries.



12 March-5 April 2019

Hobart to Hobart

Integrated Monitoring Observing System Time Series automated moorings for climate and carbon cycle studies southwest of Tasmania (Chief Scientist: Professor Tom Trull, ACE-CRC)

The Southern Ocean Time Series provides world-leading automated observations from deep-ocean moorings of the exchanges of heat, water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen between the ocean and atmosphere, and the physical and biological processes that control them. These results contribute to forward projections of anthropogenic climate warming, inform the setting of emissions targets, illuminate controls on climate variability, and provide a baseline for impacts on ocean pelagic ecology.  Sensor data is returned live to the internet and samples are returned annually for further study in shore laboratories.

Surface and subsurface subantarctic Biogeochemistry of Carbon and Iron, Southern Ocean Time Series site (Lead Principal Investigator: Prof Philip Boyd, UTAS)

The Southern Ocean straddles the waters between Australia and Antarctica and has two distinct regions – the subantarctic and the polar seas. The latter is comprehensively studied by expeditions by Australia’s Antarctic Division, whereas the subantarctic has received much less attention. This voyage aims to determine processes within the subantarctic environment that control productivity, foodwebs and cycles of elements such as carbon. Enhanced understanding will maximise investments, such as in ocean time-series in subpolar waters, and enable better predictions to be made on how marine life and chemistry are controlled by both natural and human-made shifts in climate and ocean conditions.


Scientific Highlights and Summary


11 April - 24 April

Hobart to Hobart

RAN Hydrographic and Maritime Heritage Surveys (Chief Scientist: Emily Jateff, Australian National Maritime Museum)

The voyage will be conducting surveys in the following areas:

  • Modern survey in the primary shipping route through Bass Strait for the Australian Hydrographic Office (AHO) to facilitate safe navigation for international and coastal shipping and improve confidence for subsurface navigation in Bass Strait.
  • Undertake mapping of historic shipwreck sites, in partnership with Heritage Victoria and the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) in the vicinity of Bass Strait - SE Victoria to uncover additional data on shipwrecks of significance.



29 April-9 May 2019

Hobart to Fremantle

Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN) (Chief Scientist: Dr Leah Moore, University of Canberra)

CAPSTAN is a post-graduate at sea training initiative on RV Investigator. Governed by a network of leading industry and university partners from within marine science and geoscience, CAPSTAN is a first of its kind programme which will transform the way marine science education is delivered for generations to come.

A truly national education initiative, CAPSTAN was designed to develop a national approach to teaching and learning in the marine sciences whilst also providing a platform for institutional, industrial and generational knowledge transfer and collaboration on-board Australia’s principal research vessel, Investigator.


Scientific Highlights and Summary


13 May-13 June 2019

Fremantle to Fremantle

A coupled bio-physical, ecosystem-scale, examination of Australia’s International Indian Ocean Expedition line (Chief Scientist: Prof Lynnath Beckley, Murdoch University)

This voyage revisits part of the Australian EEZ (110oE) last studied five decades ago when a baseline was established for the physical, chemical and biological oceanography of this atypical ocean region. As part of the second International Indian Ocean Expedition, we will put a multidisciplinary, world-leading team aboard the RV Investigator to undertake an integrated oceanic ecosystem study incorporating physical processes, nitrogen sources, primary productivity, food webs and bio-optics. This study will assess the effects of climate change on Australia’s ocean domain against the 1960s benchmark and contribute to development of mathematical models to assist in management of Australia’s oceans.



18 June 2019 - 29 June 2019

Fremantle to TBC



21 July 2019 - 2 August 2019

TBC to Cairns

Seismic acquisition system commissioning voyage.


7 August-3 September 2019

Cairns to Brisbane

Hotspot dynamics in the Coral Sea: connections between the Australian plate and deep Earth (Chief Scientist: Dr Joanne Whittaker, University of Tasmania)

In a handful of locations on Earth, hot material rises from deep within the Earth to create lines of volcanoes such as the Hawaiian-Emperor Seamount Chain. We aim to test if the Tasmantid and Lord Howe Seamount chains, hidden in the seas off eastern Australia, should be included in this rare group and if the Louisiade Plateau to the north could have formed from the massive flood of basaltic lava triggered when a rising plume reaches the surface.


8 September-1 October 2019

Brisbane to Brisbane

Integrated Marine Observing System: monitoring of East Australian Current property transports at 27oS (Chief Scientist: Dr Bernadette Sloyan, CSIRO).

The East Australian Current (EAC) is the complex and highly energetic western boundary current of the South Pacific Ocean.  The EAC is the dominant mechanism for the redistribution of heat and freshwater between the ocean and atmosphere in the Australian region; it is a vital component of the eastern Australian coastal ecosystem. The monitoring of the EAC is central to our understanding of how climate variability is communicated through the global ocean. This ocean current time-series will provide significant insights into the interactions between the EAC, the Pacific basin and the local shelf ocean circulation.


4 October 2019 – 14 October 2019

Cairns to Brisbane

Multidisciplinary transit voyage:

  • Deep seascapes of the Great Barrier Reef: Uncovering submarine canyons and landslides: Dr Robin Beaman (JCU)
  • First measurements of nitrate isotopic composition in the Coral Sea: Dr Dirk Erler (SCU)
  • Spatial and temporal variability in the distribution and abundance of seabirds: Dr Eric Woehler (UTAS)
  • ORCA: Using the Investigator radar as a moving reference for the Australian operational radar network: Dr Alain Protat (BOM)
  • Environmental baselines for Wessel Marine Park, northern Australia: Dr Rachel Przeslawski (GA)


19 October-18 December 2019

Darwin to Darwin

Maritime Continent observations of atmospheric convection, biogenic emissions, ocean vertical mixing, and the Indonesian Throughflow (Chief Scientist: Dr Alain Protat, BOM)

Accurate predictions of Australia’s regional weather and climate require accurate representations of atmospheric and oceanic processes in our prediction models over the entire globe, and not just over Australia. However, some global locations are more important than others, and one is the region known as the ‘Maritime Continent’, comprising the islands and seas of Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea, and surrounds. This voyage will form part of a larger international effort to tackle the problems of the Maritime Continent in our models by making detailed observations of the daily cycles of convective storms and the mixing of heat in the atmosphere and ocean.


Updated: 29 May 2019