Exploring Australia's Deep Sea

With state-of-the-art submersibles, dive support systems and deep-sea sampling technology, a team of scientists led by Prof Justin Marshall from The University of Queensland are unravelling some of the greatest biological mysteries of all time.

With financial support from the Australian Research Council, Harbour Branch Oceanographic Institute/Florida Atlantic University, Australian Oceanographics, & The University of Queensland, the DOA scientist team have the chance to explore, observe, sample and film deep-sea Australia, discover new forms of life, learn how animals use their sensory systems and brains to live in the dark and understand how species and habitats are all connected.

Specifically designed equipment allows deep-sea animals to be captured and brought to the surface alive for further observation and experiments on their vision, lateral lines, taste and brain function which have all adapted to life in a cold and dark habitat.

Other research areas aim to discover new underwater ecosystems and what lies beyond the Great Barrier Reef in the unexplored drop-offs and inter-reef areas. As a result, their research will create a picture of ecosystems to a depth of 2000 metres and enhance Australia's ocean conservation efforts beyond the small rim close to shore. Research into marine invertebrates will also provide insight for pharmaceutical development, while the impacts of climate change on coral reefs can also be assessed.

blue underwater

red underwater

DeepWorker 2000 submersibles are constructed from a steel hull and an acrylic hemisphere, associated life support systems, thrusters and buoyancy control, external cameras and capture devices. They are manned by a single pilot/scientist and designed to operate as a pair of submersibles. Normal dive duration is up to 4 hours and maximum depth rating 610m.


Partner Investigators:
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland
Curtin University of Technology
Scool of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland
Museum Victoria
Queensland Museum
Australian Museum
Australian Institute of Marine Science
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
University of Bristol
Museum of New Zealand
Duke University
Geoscience Centre, Gottingen
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth & Technology
Ocean Research & Conservation Association


Australian Research Council Linkage
Harbour Branch Oceanographic Institute
Australian Oceanographics
Australian Institute of Marine Science
(actual & in kind funding in excess of 1.3 million dollars over 3 years)


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Last updated: March 2012 by Eva McClure

Sensory Neurobiology Group
Queensland Brain Institute
University of Queensland
Brisbane Queensland 4072 Australia