Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Ocean-Going Robotic Submarine Returns

Scientists are celebrating the first successful deployment and retrieval in Australia of a remotely controlled, deep ocean-going robotic submarine destined to play a central role in measuring changes in two of Australia’s most influential ocean currents.

Under the joint CSIRO Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship and Integrated Marine Observation System (IMOS) project, the underwater ocean glider was launched in February on a two-month, 1,500 kilometre voyage.

With its porpoising motion and an ability to descend to a depth of nearly 1,000 metres, the $A200,000 robotic glider is being trialled in the Tasman Sea and the Indian Ocean as the latest tool in Australia’s $A94 million marine observing network.

The glider’s sensors measure temperature and salinity, as well a range of biological parameters including oxygen and turbidity.

Senior CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship researcher Ken Ridgway, says the Tasman Sea trial has generated new confidence among scientists broadening the array of instruments available to them to better understand the East Australian Current and Leeuwin Currents.

“Ocean currents around Australia are critical to so many aspects of nature and human activity,” Mr Ridgway says. “With the East Australian and Leeuwin Currents, we need to understand how they change from season to season and year to year, and the extent of their influence on local coastal conditions, as this affects climate, weather, fisheries, shipping and more.

Together with data from research vessels, satellites and moored, drifting and expendable instruments, the glider will add a new dimension to profiling the oceans around Australia. But there are still challenges to be overcome.

“In a lot of ways this first deployment is as much learning how to pilot the glider and guide it through and around the eddies of the East Australian Current as it is getting about the data we want,” Mr Ridgway says.

A recent innovation in oceanography, the winged gliders are programmable and guided by Global Positioning Systems. They glide during depth changes, driven by an inflated oil filled chamber. However, because the ocean currents can be faster than the glider’s speed, ensuring they are not swept away has been a difficult process.

“The appeal of these instruments is that they are out working while the scientist can be assessing what is near-real time information about ocean conditions,” Mr Ridgway says.

Stories like this:
Robotic sea glider flies through water

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Monday, April 20, 2009


SCUBA Travel release last quarter's bestseller list

SCUBA Travel have just released their list of best selling diving books and DVDs of the last quarter. Yet again the Dive Atlas of the World keeps its top spot. The previous quarter's position is shown in brackets.

  1. Dive Atlas of the World: An Illustrated Reference to the Best Sites by Jack Jackson
    300 pages detailing some of the world's best dive sites. (1)

  2. Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die: Diving Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations by Chris Santella
    The fifth in Santella's bestselling "Fifty Places" series. (2)

  3. Dive in Style
    by Tim Simond
    Luxury diving around the world.(4)

  4. Dive Red Sea: The Ultimate Guide by Simon Rogerson and John McIntyre
    Covers popular Red Sea diving areas: mostly Egypt.(--)

  5. Coral Reef Guide Red Sea (Coral Reef) by Ewald Lieske, Robert Myers
    Covering jellyfish, corals, nudibranchs, starfish, sea urchins, fishes and turtles of the Red Sea. (3)

  6. Coral Reef Fishes: Indo-Pacific and Caribbean by Ewald Lieske, Robert Myers
    A compact, guide to over 2000 species of fish you might see whilst diving on coral reefs. (8)

  7. Dive: The Ultimate Guide To 60 Of The Worlds Top Dive Locations by Monty Halls
    Describes 60 of the world's best diving areas, and highlights specific dives not to be missed whilst you are there. (6)

  8. Diver Down: Real-World SCUBA Accidents and How to Avoid Them by Michael R. Ange
    Reveals how scuba diving accidents leading to severe injury or death usually result from a chain of events that can and should be prevented before a tragedy occurs. (7)

  9. Red Sea Reef Guide by Helmut Debelius
    Guide to marine life of the Red Sea (10)

  10. Thailand (Lonely Planet Diving & Snorkeling Guides) by Tim Rock
    Dive sites of Thailand. Includes city guide to Bangkok. (5)

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Antarctic marine biodiversity data now online

New web portal provides free and open access to information on antarctic marine species. The SCAR-MarBIN portal lets users browse, see and search different types of data, including over 2000 photos and videos. Entries are geo-referenced so users can discover what is found where.

The database now offers access to over one million records from 120 datasets. This was one of the ambitious objectives for the end of the International Polar Year (IPY). The data is updated by more than 70 experts worldwide. SCAR-MarBIN makes it possible to instantly download data and map the occurrence and abundance of polar marine organisms.

Antarctic marine ecosystems are particularly challenged by Global changes. More and more, the Southern Ocean is considered as a hotbed of marine speciation, having a considerable influence on Marine ecosystems worldwide.

SCAR-MarBIN is the information partner of the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML), one of 17 projects of the Census of Marine Life.

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