Message from the CEO, John Gunn

Message from the CEO, John Gunn

Welcome to the first edition of Waypoint for 2016.

AIMS researchers rounded off a successful 2015 with an array of exciting experiments during the annual mass coral spawning season. Mass coral spawning provides a narrow window of opportunity to understand the vulnerable early life history stages of corals, a period critical to understanding the cumulative impacts of a range of stressors on coral reefs. Thanks to the high degree of environmental control and technical support available in the National Sea Simulator (SeaSim), a new generation of reef-building corals has now settled and is firmly established within the facility.

One project currently underway in SeaSim seeks to investigate the potential for “assisted evolution” to fast-track improvements in coral resilience. This work, led by AIMS researcher Professor Madeleine van Oppen in association with Dr Ruth Gates from the University of Hawai’i, is rapidly gaining international recognition for its potential to help corals deal with increasing impacts of climate change.  AIMS will be hosting an assisted evolution workshop and public forum in Townsville later this month.

Key insights into the effects of sedimentation on coral reproduction are starting to flow from the Dredging Research Program also being conducted in SeaSim in partnership with the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI). The Dredging Research Program is one of AIMS’  largest single-issue marine research programs and seeks to improve knowledge about impacts and regulation of dredging operations. Supported by environmental offsets and research organisation co-investment, it is an excellent example of cutting-edge applied science in a wholly collaborative environment. Science, industry and government organisations are working together to bring about real world change. AIMS is proud to be one of ten research organisations contributing technical capabilities and research expertise to this Program.

As we head into 2016, we are delighted to see significant opportunities for innovation and collaboration on the horizon for AIMS. We are currently in discussions regarding an exciting collaboration that will use AIMS’ marine expertise and Boeing’s extensive unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities, to gather and interpret data across Australia’s tropical marine environments. We are also developing diverless solutions as part of the Shell and INPEX Applied Research Program in Western Australia. Trials will begin later in the year.

This year, we look forward to working with the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, and the Assistant Ministers for Science and for Innovation, as AIMS engages with the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda. We also look forward to working with the Minister for Resources Energy and Northern Australia as AIMS provides the marine science that helps underpin achievement of the Government’s vision for Developing Northern Australia.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Waypoint and look forward to your continued support throughout 2016.