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About AIMS

The Australian Institute of Marine Science is a corporate Commonwealth entity established under the Australian Institute of Marine Science Act 1972 (AIMS Act). As Australia’s tropical marine research agency, it is our mission to provide the research and knowledge of Australia’s tropical marine estate required to support growth in its sustainable use, effective environmental management and protection of its unique ecosystems.

To accomplish our mission, AIMS delivers independent science to help realise three key long-term impacts for the nation:

  • improve the health and resilience of marine and coastal ecosystems across northern Australia
  • create economic, social and environmental net benefits for marine industries and coastal communities
  • protect coral reefs and other tropical marine environments from the effects of climate change.

AIMS’ headquarters was established on Cape Ferguson near Townsville in recognition of the importance of the GBR to Australia. Today, we also operate from bases in Perth and Darwin, which allows us to conduct research across northern Australia, spanning two oceans and three regional seas (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Location of AIMS' facilities and major activities  Map of Australia showing the location of AIMS' facilities and major activities including sensor networks, monitoring sites, weather stations, location of major activities and location of laboratory facilities.

AIMS is uniquely placed to provide the expert advice and solutions for management agencies, marine industries, and coastal communities to preserve our marine estate and ensure its sustainable use. Our research is focused on the priorities of our stakeholders, including Commonwealth, State and territory governments, industry and Traditional Owners.

Our oceans provide jobs, contribute to national prosperity and hold intrinsic value for all Australians. Sustainable growth in Australia’s marine industry and the preservation of all that are in our oceans is underpinned by strong marine science delivered by AIMS.

Our scientific research provides the knowledge that contributes to industry’s competitiveness while protecting our unique marine ecosystems. It helps marine-based industries understand their operating environment and reduce uncertainty so they can make the right long-term decisions with confidence and maintain their social licence to operate.

AIMS recognises that Indigenous peoples are the Traditional Owners of much of the sea country within which AIMS works. AIMS seeks to build meaningful partnerships with Traditional Owners of sea country in northern Australia to deliver impactful research for all Australians. That is why, in AIMS Strategy 2025, we undertake science collaborations with traditional owners in key projects based on sea country. Traditional Owners have a knowledge system that’s based on thousands of years of observations and environmental information that is passed down through the generations.

Our Traditional Owner collaboration is a growing relationship based on trust, respect and two-way knowledge sharing that blends traditional knowledge with western science to create new insights into local marine ecosystems.