Tropical Marine Science Boosted in the Commonwealth Budget


15 May 2007

The Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP visited the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) today to announce funding for a new oceanographic satellite receiving station at AIMS and a state of the art fibre optic winch for the Institute's new vessel, the RV Solander.

The $10,000.00 equipment upgrade follows the Australian Government's announcement last week of an additional $5 million for AIMS research over four years.

The 2007-08 Budget will mean an increase of % in the AIMS budget and a total commitment of $110.6 million over the next four years, which is the largest budget in AIMS history.

CEO Dr Ian Poiner has welcomed the additional funding which he says will support AIMS research in northwest Australia. "Northwest Australia is a region rich not only with marine biodiversity, but also with abundant natural gas resources. These additional funds will allow us to expand our research in this region and to support the sustainable development of one of Australia's key export industries."

The funding will also enhance the Institute's capabilities in marine microbiology which is considered to be a critical area for future research. AIMS Senior Research scientist Dr Madeline van Oppen says that improved understanding of marine microbes is necessary for the field of marine science to progress.

"Marine microbiology is a new frontier for marine science," says Dr van Oppen. "In the coming years, we expect to see major advances in understanding marine systems through microbial research as well as the application of microbiology to solve practical problems in areas like aquaculture."

Marine microbes make up 8% of marine life, supply more than half the world's oxygen, are the major processors of the world's greenhouse gases and play a key role in global climate.

"Further investment into marine microbial science and into research to support the growing oil and gas industry in the northwest, represent a major step forward both for the field of marine science and for our nation," says Dr Poiner.

Media contacts:

Dr Ian Poiner , AIMS CEO
Telephone : 07 4753 4490
Email : i.poiner@aims.gov.au

Wendy Ellery , AIMS Media Liaison
Telephone : 07 4753 4409
Mobile : 0418 729 265
Email : w.ellery@aims.gov.au