Modelling Darwin Harbour’s extreme tides

$5.6 million upgrade to Arafura Timor Research Facility

Launched by Federal Science and Research Minister Don Farrell

Media call 9.30 am, Friday 24 May 2013, 23 Ellengowan Drive, Brinkin

Darwin Harbour has extreme tidal rises and falls of up to eight-metres. So the ebbing and flowing currents in the channels are strong and fast, all of which makes it difficult for pilots to berth bulk carriers or manoeuvre dredges.

To make their job easier, Mr David Williams, an oceanographer with the Australian Institute of Marine Science, has been building computer models of the water movements in Darwin Harbour. He will be available to display his model at the opening of a $5.6 million upgrade to the Arafura Timor Research Facility (ATRF) in Darwin.

Other projects benefiting from the upgrade include:

  • The effect of abandoned nets on sea turtle populations
  • The impact of human pollution on tropical marine environments
  • The ocean colour of Darwin Harbour
  • Sawfish and coastal shark ecology
  • How tropical fish populations fit together

All will benefit from the $5.6 million upgrade to the the Arafura Timor Research Facility.

It will be opened by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Don Farrell on Friday 24 May between 9 and 10.30 am.

The money, from the Australian Government’s Super Science Initiative of the Education Investment Fund, has paid for new scientific equipment and expanded laboratories and workshops, including a new Aquaria facility, to develop ecotoxicology services—the assessment of toxic chemicals—relevant to tropical marine systems. The Aquaria will be routinely available to government agencies and industry.

The upgraded facility, adjacent to the Charles Darwin University, is the home of North Australia Marine Research Alliance (NAMRA), a tropical marine science partnership which includes the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the Australian National University (ANU), Charles Darwin University and the Northern Territory Government.

It will encourage collaboration between scientists from government, academia and industry. It will also serve as a hub for training and research in marine science, to benefit the entire region including tropical Australia’s near neighbours of Timor Leste, Indonesia and PNG.

In 2009-10, Australia’s oceans were estimated to have contributed $42 billion to the national economy. This figure is expected to grow significantly in the near future. In addition, tropical waters host some of the nation’s most significant ecosystems, such as the Great Barrier Reef, and play a central role in the life of regional communities across northern Australia.

At the opening, the media will be invited to tour the expanded facility at 23 Ellengowan Drive, Brinkin.

The Minister, Senator Don Farrell, the CEO of AIMS, Mr John Gunn, and the Director of NAMRA, Dr Ed Butler will all be available for interview.

More information:

Steve Clarke
Communication Manager, Australian Institute of Marine Science
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Mob: +61 419 668 497, Office: +61 7 4753 4264