The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

Professor Mike Coffin introduce the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at UTAS (Hobart, Tasmania), outline the Institute’s background, global context, opportunities for students, and plans for the future.



The Power of Plankton

Paul Falkowski, Nature 483, S17–S20 (01 March 2012),  doi:10.1038/483S17a

Published online 29 February 2012


Do tiny floating microorganisms in the ocean’s surface waters play a massive role in controlling the global climate?


Plankton Chronicles

The Plankton Chronicles project is being created in the context of the Tara Oceans Expedition and the Observatoire Oceanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer (OOV).

Tune into the wonderful world of plankton through the footage available on the Chronicles site: in particular the following:

Protists – cells in the seas

Single cell organisms, protists are the ancestors of all plants and animals


Plankton are a multitude of living organisms adrift in the currents.
Our food, our fuel, and the air we breathe originate in plankton.

Pteropods – Swimming Mollusks

Planktonic snails known as sea butterflies build fragile shells. Will they survive an acidifying ocean?


The Secret Life of Plankton

New videography techniques have opened up the oceans’ microscopic ecosystem, revealing it to be both mesmerizingly beautiful and astoundingly complex. Explore this hidden world that underpins our own food chain — in the first-ever TEDTalk given by a fish …



Life in the Ice

Life in the Ice, Australian Antarctic Division ©

Lynchpin is grateful to the Australian Antarctic Division for permission to publish this video showing just what is involved in the intricate process of gathering plankton data in Antarctica.   Marine Biologist Fiona Scott shown here, is joint Editor with Prof. Harvey Marchant of the authoritative publication Antarctic Marine Protists,  a magnificent and comprehensive guide to the vitally important protists that live in the surface waters and sea-ice south of the Antarctic Polar Front.

[Scott, Fiona J. and Marchant, Harvey J. (Editors)( 2005). Antarctic Marine Protists, Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra, Australian Antarctic Division, Hobart.]



Our Perpetual Ocean

This is a wonderful animation of ocean surface currents from June 2005 to December 2007 from NASA satellites. Gain an understanding of the ‘big picture’ of the vast oceans, their movements and their significance compared with the planet’s land areas.  Watch how bigger currents like the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean and the Kuroshio in the Pacific carry warm waters across thousands of miles at speeds greater than four miles per hour (six kilometers per hour); how coastal currents like the Agulhas in the Southern Hemisphere move equatorial waters toward Earth’s poles; and how thousands of other ocean currents are confined to particular regions and form slow-moving, circular pools called eddies.

Oxygen decreasing in ocean waters

A 60-year data set shows oxygen levels decreasing in the ocean. Some sites show a decrease of 30% over 22 years. Lisa Levin says these changes may have happened in the past. But the concern is the rate of change. It is thought higher temperatures and lower salinity contribute to this observation. Lower oxygen areas exhibit lower species diversity and more soft bodied organisms. Lisa Levin says there will be major economic impacts from these rapid changes as fish populations move.

More: at The Science Show, Radio National.

The Changing Chemistry of Ocean Water

Professor TomTrull, Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry, University of Tasmania talks to Robyn Williams on the Science Show.

Between a third and a half of carbon dioxide emissions end up in the ocean. Acidity is increasing. Patterns of circulation are changing and along with them, ocean chemistry. Areas of ocean are experiencing different temperature, salinity and mixes of nutrients. Tom Trull’s group at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies is monitoring and studying ocean chemistry to determine what might be expected as conditions change.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centres for ocean and earth science research, education, and public service in the world. Research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography encompasses physical, chemical, biological, geological, and geophysical studies of the oceans and earth. 

First Global Picture of Greenhouse Gases Emerges from Pole-to-Pole Flights

HIPPO creates atlas of atmosphereScripps geochemist Ralph Keeling, a HIPPO co-investigator, said the project will do for the atmosphere what years of oceanographic research has done for the oceans in creating an atlas of its constituent gases.

The Global Change Institute, University of Queensland

The University of Queensland has established the Global Change Institute to generate ideas, foster innovative research and collaborate with multi-disciplinary partners worldwide.

The development of fresh insights into how mankind addresses the challenge of life in our changing world demands forward thinking, long-term commitment and strategic relationships.


ARGO Floats

A decade ago Australia launched the first ten Argo Floats into the Indian Ocean. Now Argo is a major international collaborative project to look at the world’s oceans and help understand processes at depth – monitoring the pulse of the global heat balance and giving us vital information on the ocean’s role in climate. Today there are over 3000 Argo Floats deployed around the world. Catalyst’s Surfing Scientist Ruben Meerman takes a look at the real-time data streaming in.