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Leading Edge Analytical & Environmental Studies Facility

ATRF hosts a Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (SIRMS) Facility that is housed in the purpose-built laboratory at the Arafura Timor Research Facility. The SIRMS has been funded through an ARC (Linkage) grant.

The SIRMS Facility provides a focus for research collaboration and training in northern Australia. It contributes to studies of conservation biology, natural resource management, environmental and marine science and resource development in the tropical north. It helps develop knowledge bases, innovative approaches to environmental management and sustainable development and high levels of research and research training for regional development. The SIRMS is used to measure the isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur in studying the transfer of the elements amongst the land, atmosphere, oceans, and biospheric reservoirs. The research activities that are supported by this Facility can be divided into five program areas: Chemical Oceanography, Biological Oceanography, Coastal Processes, Ecological Processes in the Wet Dry Tropics and Resource Development. Examples of proposed projects include

  • Carbon isotopic studies on submarine vent systems of the Timor Sea margin.
  • Carbon isotopic studies on biological communities associated with submarine vents of the Timor Sea margin.
  • N cycling in the Timor and Arafura Seas (TAS) and the shelf-scale N budgets for the Great Barrier Reef. (GBR).
  • Tracing of N flow within mangroves.
  • Determination of carbon-isotope composition (d13C value) in sediments to use as a tracer for the dispersal of terrestrially derived organic carbon into the marine environment.
  • Tracing fate of sewage and aquaculture effluents
  • Analysis of the carbon isotope composition of soot in PM10 and PM2.5 aerosols from bushfire smoke in the Top End of the Northern Territory to identify the source of fuels that can cause severe air pollution.

The infrastructure provides a focus for research scientists from the partner organisations, CDU, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Australian National University and the NT Government, and a range of other agencies.