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10 November 2011 - MoU between AIMS and NOAA promises further research collaboration

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10 November 2011

MoU between AIMS and NOAA promises further research collaboration

Representatives from the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Australia's tropical marine research agency – AIMS – will meet this morning at ReefHQ at 9:30, Townsville to hand over a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by AIMS' Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ian Poiner, and NOAA's Administrator, Dr Jane Lubchenco.

The United States and Australia share similar strategic challenges and have national science programs focussed on many of the same areas, including the environment and climate change, which provide considerable opportunities for mutually beneficial bilateral collaboration.

AIMS' relationship with NOAA stretches back at least 25 years, through the sharing of satellite remote sensing data, and its application to environmental issues. This MoU is a clear indication that both parties are seeking to work together to address emerging issues and opportunities in the marine environment, including, but not limited to:

· Hi-resolution ocean and climate model development, validation and enhancement

· Early warning systems for stress in marine systems

· Global monitoring of greenhouse and ozone-depleting gases

· Long-term atmospheric and oceanic observations

· Oceanographic exploration including seafloor mapping

· Improved services contributing toward human health, economic well-being and the protection of life, property and the environment

· Marine biodiversity, threatened species and invasive species

· Academic exchanges, workshops and conferences

"This MoU reflects the importance of sharing of ideas, data and resources, for both AIMS and NOAA", says Peter Doherty, Research Director at AIMS. "By working together, Australia gains access to the NOAA satellite network for earth and ocean observations while NOAA obtains quality "in situ" observations for essential calibration and validation of their remote sensing tools."

"Australia and the United States have the largest tropical marine parks in the world, namely the Great Barrier Reefand the Northwest Hawaiian Islands",explained Dr. Mark Eakin, Coordinator of NOAA Coral Reef Watch. "The knowledge base of NOAA and AIMS is highly complementary, making collaborative projects, especially those that study or protect coral reefs in a changing climate, more valuable for each agency than two separate efforts."

One current example of such collaboration in action is an important project between AIMS, NOAA and the University of Queensland funded by the Australian Research Council. This project is designed to improve the ability of satellites to forecast the risk of coral bleaching and coral mortality by tracking variations in sea temperatures, solar irradiance and water quality in the southern Great Barrier Reef.

For further information:

Dr Peter Doherty, AIMS Research Director, 0418 469 770,

Wendy Ellery, AIMS media liaison, 0418 729 265,