Our research vessel Australis provides a flexible, relatively low-cost research platform and logistical support to National Antarctic Programs, Institutions, Laboratories and other peer-reviewed projects.

Each year for nearly two decades, our science-support capability has grown and is now a significant part of our operations.

Click here to enquire today about a science or research expedition.


Below are some of the projects to receive our support:

Bob Pitman

Thank you and your team once again for your support on our recent Type-D Killer whale expedition. Our overwhelming success was due in large part to your skill and experience in the waters off Cape Horn and further south – we simply could not have done it without your expertise.

Bob Pitman NOAA Fisheries, Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division
Jorge Acevedo

What else I can say, if not for your invitation none of these good news would have happened, so thank you again and the time invested.

Jorge Acevedo Instituto Antártico Chileno
Henri Robert

Great time and excellent science all along! Thanks again Ocean Expeditions for all your help and the success of this mission ! Congratulations to all of you for your work and contributions, it was a great team effort, historic!

Henri Robert Royal Belgian Institute of natural sciences
Tracey Rogers

Thank you again for the opportunity of letting us collect this data and we will keep you abreast of how it all does.

Tracey Rogers University of New South Whales, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre

Australian Antarctic Division

For more than a decade we’ve played an integral role supporting the pioneering research into seabird mortality by Dr Graham Robertson, seabird ecologist with the Australian Antarctic Division. As a result of this work, Graham has recently been awarded a prestigious Pew Marine Conservation Fellowship. Congratulations Graham!
View project details at: AAD Research

Malaysian Antarctic Research Program

When the Malaysian Antarctic Research Program was looking for cost-effective logistical support for their inaugural dedicated Antarctic research cruise, they chose Ocean Expeditions. The main research focus was to determine the effect that Antarctic climate change has on the lives and economies of those living in the tropics. The projects didn’t require the support of icebreakers or other large vessels and the results have the Malaysian team keen to return in the following seasons.
View project details at: UTM Antarctic Research

Turkish Antarctic Research Program

The Turkish Antarctic Research Program has been active in Antarctica since the 1960’s, however had never put together their own research voyage… until now! In 2017 it begun, and with the support of the R/V Australis, the expedition included physical sampling of planktons, algae, benthos, distributed over a distance of 2000 nautical miles along the West Antarctic Peninsula. During the expedition, surveying and mapping on land, approximately 2 (two) million square meters of location, a number of points for satellite validation and ground-truthing as well as around 1 million square meters of bathymetric surveying at the adjoining locations were conducted. Bathymetric surveys were jointly conducted by the TAE- I members and the crew of the R/V Australis. The expedition reached until 67°56’ South along the Peninsula..
View project details at: PolRec Turkish Antarctic Research

Belgian Antarctic Research Voyage

In the framework of the RECTO project funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office, the expedition aims at carrying out a biodiversity census in the Western Antarctic Peninsula in March 2018, and to test-case the potential for an agile sampling platform R/V Australis. The expedition bears a strong historic link to the first scientific expedition to overwinter in Antarctica in 1897-99 recording the first intertidal biodiversity data, 120 years ago. This historic expedition was led by Adrien de Gerlache, onboard the RV Belgica.
View project details at: Belgica 120 Antarctic Research voyage
View project details at: Recto / vERSO projects

Leopard Seal Acoustics

R/V Australis supported the acoustic work of Marlee Tucker from the Rogers / Mammal lab at University of New South Whales – UNSW to both record and play back calls to calculate density of seals present on the antarctic peninsula. The calls recorded can be used to calculate the density of seals present and related back to environmental features that are important to the seals, such as key foraging areas.
View project details at: Marlee Tucker – fieldwork

Scientific papers written as a result of data collected onboard

Citations since 2003

Institutions and laboratories supported

National Antarctic Programs supported


This is a list of scientific papers that have been published as a result of science done onboard one of our vessels:
  • Mohd Shahrul Mohd Nadzir, Matthew Ashfold, Mhd Firoz Khan, Andrew D. Robinson, Conor Bolas, Mohd Talib Latif, Ben M. Wallis, Haris hasrizal, ZamZam Tuah, Goh Thian Lai, Juneng Liew, Fatimah Ahamad, Royston Uning, Azizan Abu Samah, Iq Mead and Neil R. P Harris. The temporal and spatial distribution of surface ozone in the marine boundary layer during Malaysian Antarctic Scientific Expedition Cruise’16 (MASEC’16).
  • Raimilla, V., Suazo, C. G., Robertson, G., & Rau, J. R. (2014). Observations suggesting cooperative breeding by Striated Caracaras (Phalcoboenus australis). Journal of Raptor Research, 48(2), 189-191.
  • Robertson, Graham, Carlos Moreno, Javier A. Arata, Steven G. Candy, Kieran Lawton, Jose Valencia, Barbara Wienecke, Roger Kirkwood, Phil Taylor, and Cristián G. Suazo. “Black-browed albatross numbers in Chile increase in response to reduced mortality in fisheries.” Biological Conservation 169 (2014): 319-333.
  • Acevedo, J., Haro, D., Dalla Rosa, L., Aguayo-Lobo, A., Hucke-Gaete, R., Secchi, E., … & Pastene, L. A. (2013). Evidence of spatial structuring of eastern South Pacific humpback whale feeding grounds. Endangered Species Research, 22(1), 33-38.
  • Raimilla, V. (2012). Primer registro documentado del Salteador Pardo Stercorarius Antarticus (Lesson, 1831)(Stercorariidae) para las costas del Pacífico desde el Archipiélago Diego Ramírez, Sur de Chile. In Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia (Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 151-154). Universidad de Magallanes.
  • Acevedo, J., O’Grady, M., & Wallis, B. (2012). Avistamiento de la ballena común en el Pacífico Sur Oriental Subtropical:¿ Una potencial área de reproducción?. Revista de biología marina y oceanografía, 47(3), 559-563.
  • Aguayo-Lobo, Anelio, Jorge Acevedo R, José Luis Brito, Paola Acuña G, Manuela Bassoi, Eduardo R Secchi, and Luciano Dalla Rosa. “”Presence of the leopard seal, Hydrurga leptonyx (de Blaincille, 1820), on the coast of Chile: an example of the Antarctica-south America connection in the marine enviroment.” Oecologia Australis 15, no. 1 (2011): 69-85.
  • Acevedo, J., Matus, R., Droguett, D., Vila, A., Aguayo-Lobo, A., & Torres, D. (2011). Vagrant Antarctic fur seals, Arctocephalus gazella, in southern Chile. Polar Biology, 34(6), 939-943.
  • Acevedo, J., Olavarría, C., Plana, J., Aguayo-Lobo, A., Larrea, A., & Pastene, L. A. (2011). Occurrence of dwarf minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata subsp.) around the Antarctic Peninsula. Polar biology, 34(2), 313-318.
  • Kirkwood, R., Lawton, K., Moreno, C., Valencia, J., Schlatter, R., & Robertson, G. (2007). Estimates of southern rockhopper and macaroni penguin numbers at the Ildefonso and Diego Ramírez Archipelagos, Chile, using quadrat and distance-sampling techniques. Waterbirds, 30(2), 259-267.
  • Robertson, G., Moreno, C. A., Lawton, K., Kirkwood, R., & Valencia, J. (2008). Comparison of census methods for black-browed albatrosses breeding at the Ildefonso Archipelago, Chile. Polar Biology, 31(2), 153-162.
  • Robertson, G., Moreno, C. A., Lawton, K., Arata, J., Valencia, J., & Kirkwood, R. (2007). An estimate of the population sizes of Black-browed (Thalassarche melanophrys) and Grey-headed (T. chrysostoma) Albatrosses breeding in the Diego Ramírez Archipelago, Chile. Emu, 107(3), 239-244.
  • Lawton, K., Robertson, G., Kirkwood, R., Valencia, J., Schlatter, R., & Smith, D. (2006). An estimate of population sizes of burrowing seabirds at the Diego Ramirez archipelago, Chile, using distance sampling and burrow-scoping. Polar Biology, 29(3), 229-238.
  • Lawton, K., Robertson, G., Valencia, J., Wienecke, B., & Kirkwood, R. (2003). The status of Black‐browed Albatrosses Thalassarche melanophrys at Diego de Almagro Island, Chile. Ibis, 145(3), 502-505.


R/V ‘Australis’ – Scientific Installations

InstrumentsCTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) profiler + options
Rosette Sampler / Niskin Water Sampler
Acoustic release
LabsWet lab / Dry lab / Computer lab (Please request in advance)
Cold storage capabilitiesFreezer 390 Lt at −18 °C
Refrigerator largest 450 Lt at 4 °C
Water supplyDesalinated water
ForecastingWind speed and direction
Air temperature
Barometric pressure
Relative humidity
Cloud cover
Snow fall
Sea surface temperature
Sea state
Swell direction height & whitecap probability
Weather imageryNOAA satellite live weather imagery receiving capability world over.
Accurate coastline overlay on all pictures.
Thermal readout/image colouring.
Integrated Ocean depth 2 nml intervals & land elevation display.
Overlay of wind information.
Ice imageryENVISAT satellite real time ice extent imagery
Mapping ice sheet characteristics and dynamics.
Mapping sea ice distribution and dynamics.
Spatial resolution of 150m
Accurate coastline overlay overlay on all pictures.
100km swath.
GIS enabled (GPS overlay for vessel to navigate on directly.
CartographyCustomised topographic cartography for specific Mountaineering or scientific expedition needs.
SWATH imageryCustomised satellite SWATH to order on location & real time satellite imagery

R/V ‘Australis’ – Hydrographic Installations

WinchMax line pull: 680 Kg
Max line speed: 118 mt/min
Motor: Hydraulic 15″ Cuin 104-1434 Char-Lynn
Discs: 355 mm Stainless Steel Splitter: Bronze
(Please request in advance)
Rope600 M x 8 mm Dyneema double braid (SWL) 2800 kg
Sidescan SonarBeam width 95 M
Depth 30 M
2D & 3D bathymetric mapping
Real time display & recording
DualBeam Eco sounderDepth 450 M
Frequency 200/83/455 kHz
2D & 3D bathymetric mapping
Real time display & recording
SingleBeam Eco sounderCommercial Furuno Ecosounder FCV-295
Commercial Furuno Transducer 200/50 kHz
2D & 3D bathymetric mapping
Real time display & recording
A-frameStern and side (Please request in advance)
Wet lab / dry labStainless steel tray 2M x 600mm x 35mm (Please request in advance)
Bottom, Sediment, Benthic Grab sampler – Van Veen GrabSample volume: 5 Lt (Please request in advance)
Sample area: 150mm x 290mm
Material: Stainless steel
Weight: 20kg


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