a yelloe ocean buoy sits in the water with the stern of the Cape Ferguson research vessel behind it.

Observational equipment

Operating oceanographic and weather instruments across northern Australia for on-reef, real-time updates


Wireless sensor networks

AIMS has deployed the world's first and largest reef-based internet protocol (IP) data network within the Queensland Integrated Marine Observing System (Q-IMOS). This gives researchers an unprecedented range of data on Reef conditions and enables them to better track changes and impacts.

This network is a node of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), a nationwide collaborative program designed to observe the oceans around Australia, including coastal zones and the ‘bluewater' open oceans.

Oceanographic instruments

Oceanographic data underpin much of our environmental research. AIMS has state-of-the-art oceanographic instruments including current meters, tide and wave gauges, bio-optical sensors, portable weather stations, water sampling devices and conductivity, temperature and depth profilers.

The Oceanographic Instrument Pool is used in a wide range of tropical marine environments such as rivers, estuaries, coral reefs, and shelf and slope waters to 300 metres depth.

Remote sensing

AIMS’s satellite receiving station is part of a national network that receives sea surface temperature and ocean colour data from NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NASA satellites.

Satellite images help our scientists predict where coral bleaching events will occur, and detect turbidity plumes from rivers, algal blooms, upwelling events and ocean currents.

AIMS uses the information for its own studies of ocean production and climate change, as well as contributing data to national and international archives.

Davies Reef weather station. Photo: S.Clarke, AIMS

Weather stations

AIMS's weather stations have been providing real-time observations of wind, temperature and light levels from parts of the Great Barrier Reef since 1987.

By monitoring ocean conditions, our scientists can better understand, explain and predict the occurrence of ecological processes linked to weather and climate change. For example, seawater temperatures measured at over 45 reef locations are used to predict coral bleaching events.

Local weather reporters, tourism operators, commercial and recreational fishers and marine management agencies use this data.