Established in 2006, IMOS is a national collaborative research infrastructure funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education, which uses marine observing technology located around Australia to collect ocean data.

IMOS operates facilities including instruments on various types of ships, ocean gliders and radars, satellite remote sensing, and a National Mooring Network. The ten facilities collect essential ocean variables, including sea surface temperature, salinity, CO2, and plankton. IMOS makes this data freely available for research needs across universities, Government, industry, and for other end-users via the Australian Ocean Data Network (www.aodn.org.au).

The 2018 Budget announced that the Government will provide an additional $1.9 billion over 12 years from 2017-18 ($393.3 million over five years) to implement the Research Infrastructure Investment Plan informed by the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap. Under this commitment, IMOS will be supported for another decade (2028/29). Initially operational funding of $16.46m will be extended for another four years (to 2022-23), with a further new investment of $22m for capital reinvestment and operational expenditure over the four years.

This funding will support Australia’s ocean observation system into a third decade and will allow for greater societal impact of IMOS observations. Data and research derived from IMOS infrastructure has already assisted in: the development and ongoing modelling of operational information for shipping operations (e.g. the Forum for Operational Oceanography, BLUELink, Darwin Port Corporation); is a member of Research Provider Network of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation to provide information to assist in efficient targeting of fishing catch and effort, and to manage changing ocean conditions (e.g. warming, acidification) affecting aquaculture; and engages with the Government’s National Environmental Science Programme Hubs and the State of the Environment Reporting.

In preparation for a third decade of operation, IMOS is working with stakeholders to identify societal, environmental, economic, and policy priorities which will underpin its science and implementation planning for its infrastructure around Australia. This planning will include the Northern Australia Policy and the various marine science and end-user strategies currently underway.

IMOS understands the importance of Australia’s northern maritime estate to indigenous communities, defence and border security services, the oil and natural gas industries, coastal and marine industries, fisheries and aquaculture, port operations, and environmental management and protection, and seeks new and ongoing strategic engagement with all relevant stakeholders who operate across the marine and maritime sectors in Northern Australia.

You can find more information about the Integrated Marine Observing System by visiting www.imos.org.au or by contacting Indi Hodgson-Johnston (IMOS Assistant Director) at indiah.hodgsonjohnston@utas.edu.au.

The 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference is on next week at the Alice Springs Convention Centre over Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 June. For more information and to secure your spot, visit the conference website.