Go forth and collaborate …
ACE CRC scientist Guy Williams has been chosen as one of 14 Australian delegates to take part in the Australia-China Young Researchers Exchange Program. Under the program, which is run by the Group of Eight universities, Dr Williams will visit three research institutions in China this September to advance current and future collaboration.
Dr Williams’ fellowship will help to consolidate existing links with China’s First Institute of Oceanography, which is one of the ACE CRC’s 21 partner organisations. The aim of the visit is to explore the possibility of bringing together Dr Williams’ work on dense shelf water production in the Cape Darnley region of East Antarctica with similar Chinese work in the nearby Prydz Bay region. Dr Williams will also visit Shanghai Ocean University to showcase the value of environmental data gathered during Australian marine mammal research and the synergies to China’s own plans for instrumented seals. He will visit the Chinese Polar Research Institute, and the Dalian University of Technology to present results from the AUV project on SIPEX-2 and discuss new advances in observational fieldwork with autonomous platforms.
Dr Williams took part in the 2012 SIPEX2 sea ice voyage, and published research in Nature Geoscience earlier this year that located a fourth source of Antarctic Bottom Water using data gathered by tagged seals, satellites and oceanographic moorings.
He has recently returned from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, a key collaborator with the ACE CRC. This collaboration centres on WHOI’s provision of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), which was deployed on last year’s SIPEX2 sea ice voyage to capture the first three-dimensional map of the under surface of a sea ice floe in East Antarctica. The SeaBED-class AUV ‘Jaguar’ was equipped with a multibeam sonar that recorded the structure of the under-ice surface by sending out a swath of ‘pings’ and measuring the time taken for the sound to bounce back.
Dr Williams and his WHOI colleague Dr Ted Maksym are now investigating the deployment of the next generation of AUV over longer distances, with a particular emphasis on the marginal ice zone (MIZ). The MIZ is the biologically significant region at the oceanic edge of the sea ice pack that is fractured by wave-ice interaction, during both advance (autumn) and retreat (spring). It is predicted to become more prominent under future climate change.