The National Sea Simulator – Reaction comments

Australian Institute of Marine Science

Luke Smith, Environment Manager from Woodside Energy, Russell Reichelt, Chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and scientists from CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Western Australian and James Cook University in Townsville tell what the new Sea Simulator facility means to them. More comments will be added during the day.

Dr Luke Smith, Environment Manager, Woodside Energy Ltd

Luke Smith is available to comment prior to catching a plane at 3pm Perth time (5pm AET).  Call Margie Beilharz on 0415 448 065 or email for contact details.

SeaSim is a very good research tool, and a real asset for Australia, which will let researchers collect the knowledge that will allow industry and government to better manage the marine environment in the future.

Woodside Energy has a long-term relationship with AIMS where we’ve been working with them to understand the marine environments of Western Australia.

One of the issues facing Australia is to understand the impacts of human activities on the marine environment, and SeaSim gives a very good opportunity to do some cause-effect studies around contaminants, toxins and dredging impacts in a simulated environment.

Woodside has contributed $3 million to researchers to collect information to better manage the impacts of dredging on tropical marine ecosystems. Some of these funds are going to be spent using SeaSim to understand the impacts of dredging sediment on coral reefs.

One of the components of the project, managed by the West Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI), is to use SeaSim to simulate the ocean to look at how corals and the other tropical marine organisms actually deal with dredging-related sediments. Obviously, working out in the marine environment can be very difficult and very complicated from the point of view of understanding cause and effects. Whereas if you can simulate it in an enclosed environment and manipulate different things, you can then really understand how animals in the natural world would respond to different stressors.

Dr Russell Reichelt, Chairman, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Russell Reichelt is not available for interviews today. Contact Karen Markwort, Director, Communications and Parliamentary, for any queries ( or  (07) 4750 0739)

SeaSim will play a valuable role in improving our knowledge about impacts such as climate change and poor water quality from catchment runoff which are key threats to the Great Barrier Reef. I am pleased that marine pests such as crown-of-thorns starfish will be a focus of the SeaSim’s experimental work as a better understanding of the lifecycle of this coral predator will help us develop more effective control methods.

The strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef we have been undertaking for the Australian Government is showing us where there are knowledge gaps — for example, the effects of cumulative impacts on the health of the Reef. Research that would normally take years to undertake in the field can be completed much more quickly in this simulated environment, adding to our knowledge and ability to respond to impacts with appropriate management actions.

Mr David Brewer, Research Program Leader, Coasts, Oceans, Aquaculture, Resources and Ecosystems, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

David Brewer will be at the launch of the National Sea Simulator in Townsville today and available for interviews. Call Margie Beilharz on 0415 448 065 or email for contact details.

CSIRO congratulates AIMS on the opening of the National Sea Simulator. We welcome this important new marine infrastructure, which will complement marine capability in a network of organisations around the country to provide new opportunities for Australian marine research in areas of national and global importance. We look forward to continuing to work with AIMS on Australia’s national priorities in marine research.

Dr Steve Rogers, Science and Business Leader, Western Australia, Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)

Steve Rogers is available for interview. Call Margie Beilharz on 0415 448 065 or email for contact details.

SeaSim is an absolutely unique national facility in terms of capabilities—no existing aquarium is comparable.

It is such an outstanding facility that we are transporting corals from Western Australian reefs to SeaSim in Townsville in order to conduct experiments.

We are already using SeaSim to undertake preliminary experiments as part of a major West Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) dredging project. AIMS is a core partner in the WAMSI collaboration and a major contributor to the Dredging Node.

In the future, SeaSim will provide significant opportunities for research work with the oil and gas sector on the North West Shelf, and will thereby contribute to the environmental sustainability of offshore oil and gas.

NOTE: West Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) is a collaboration of State, Federal, industry and academic organisations working together to deliver rigorous science to underpin management of Western Australia’s marine resource.

Prof Philip Munday, ARC QEII Fellow and Professorial Research Fellow, James Cook University

Philip Munday is available to comment; he will be at the launch. Call Margie Beilharz on 0415 448 065 or email for contact details.

SeaSim is an exciting new facility that will be highly beneficial in promoting collaborative research between marine science researchers at AIMS and James Cook University. Researchers at AIMS and JCU are conducting cutting edge research on many climate change issues. SeaSim is a state of the art facility that will enable more interdisciplinary research and greatly benefit collaboration between institutions.