Welcome to CAPSTAN
Welcome to CAPSTAN
"Individually we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean."
The Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea Training Alliance Network aims to transform marine science education through the development of a national approach to teaching and learning in the marine realm. CAPSTAN provides a platform for institutional, industrial, and generational knowledge transfer through collaboration on board Australia’s state-of-the-art research vessel, the RV Investigator. CAPSTAN is a first of its kind and will transform marine science education for generations to come.
In 2017-2020, the Marine National Facility (MNF) generously provided the CAPSTAN programme with R/V Investigator ship time and access to on-board equipment for 3 pilot voyages for up to 30 post-graduate students and trainers. Our first voyage crosses the Great Australian Bight in November 2017 (check out the voyage blog!)
Join us! The 2nd CAPSTAN voyage is scheduled to depart from Hobart, Tasmania 29th April, arriving in Fremantle, Western Australia, 9th May, 2019. More details will be posted on the Get Involved page as will the link to the 2019 application form.
Participating in a CAPSTAN voyage?
Here’s some of the amazing marine science and shipboard experiences you can expect!
You will hear, see, and do marine science:
- Your team of trainers and crew on the board represent a wide span of expertise in the marine sciences- you will hear from them about their area of expertise as well as their cumulative years of experience on ships studying the biology, chemistry, geology, and physics of the global oceans
- You’ll see and experience how a world-class research vessel operates as you set sail on board the R/V Investigator
- You’ll see (and identify) sea life from large sea birds and marine mammals, to squid, to microscopic plankton
- You’ll see presentations and participate in workshops by experts in the biology, chemistry, geology, and physics of the global oceans
- You’ll develop your science communication skills, including contributing to our CAPSTAN blog!
- You’ll improve your data collection, analyses, and reporting skills
- You’ll practice safe conduct in a marine research environment
- You’ll use and become familiar with state-of-the-art oceanographic sampling equipment
- You’ll network with other marine science students and researchers from across Australia
- Tow plankton nets
- Collect sediments using coring and dredge devices
- Measure water profiles with a CTD
- Collect and titrate seawater from Niskin bottles
- Map the seafloor
Keeping you posted with the latest from on board the R/V Investigator!
You can expect new blog posts (and photos!) from our student participants during each of the CAPSTAN voyages! Hear about the science and the learning taking place on board straight from the next generation of marine scientists!
You can also check out the CAPSTAN student blogs in AGU's The Field via:
Stay up to date
You can join our mailing list by clicking here!
In the news
26th November 2017 - New wave of marine scientists complete voyage
2017 voyage a success!
20 students and 9 trainers from across Australia headed on the R/V Investigator from Fremantle to start the first voyage across the Great Australian Bight to Hobart! They spent 13 days gaining hands-on experience with a variety of modern sampling equipment and spotted some curious marine mammals. Check out the blog (link above) to relive the experience.
Conferences & Presentations
Look for CAPSTAN at the Australian Marine Science Association Conference in Adelaide this July!
Abbott, A.N. and Lyn-Stephens, S. CAPSTAN: Towards a tertiary marine science education. Lightning lecture and poster. Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) and International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography (ICSHMO), UNSW Sydney.
Armand, L.K. and Moore, C.L. Weigh anchor! The CAPSTAN national post-graduate sea training sets sail in 2017. Lightening lecture and poster. Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) and Meteorological Society of New Zealand (MSNZ) conference. ANU Canberra. Presented by Leah Moore on behalf of L. Armand. 9th February, 2017.
Armand, L.K. The Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN). AUGEN. Canberra. 28th January 2016.
Armand, L.K. Beyond the Next Wave: A national postgraduate at sea training initiative on the RV Investigator. AMOS/ARCCSS National Conference, Melbourne. 10th February, 2016.
Armand, L.K. All things Mud! Geosciences and the RV Investigator. Sydney Institute of Marine Science SAC general meeting. 26 August, 2015.
Armand, L.K. (2015).Training work-ready graduates: the SMART2 (CAPSTAN) initiative. Bioscience Education Australia Network – Creating the Future. Shine Dome Canberra. 9th December 2015.
Armand, L., Coleman, R., Coffin, M., Bose, N., Suthers, I., Bruce, E., Baker, E., Gladstone, W., Ellwood, M. and Holmes, S. (2015) Strategic Marine Alliance Research, Teaching and Training(SMART2): A national Master-level at sea training initiative. Pp. 42. Dept. of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University: North Ryde. http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/346971. You can read the Executive summary here or download the full report from Macquarie University ResearchOnline.
Marine National Facility – RV Investigator
Marine National Facility – Home Page
CSIRO – Investigator Blog
Stay up to date and join our mailing list - click here!
Here you find information on how to support the CAPSTAN programme (information for universities, government, and industries) as well as how to participate in a voyage (trainer or student!). Have questions, our contact information is at the bottom!
Come sail with us
…as a student:
Our training voyages all take place on board the state-of-the-art research vessel RV Investigator. They consist of practical hands-on research, sea training, theoretical lectures, and an assessment of your ability to communicate scientific findings and ideas. It won’t be all hard work though, as there will be a number of fun activities along the way. This is a great opportunity to test your research, inquiry, problem-solving and communication in a unique work environment. Find out more about what to expect in Welcome Aboard!
The second voyage sails from Hobart to Fremantle in 2019. All masters and honours level students enrolled in Australian Institutions are welcome to apply! Priority will be given to applicants from institutions subscribed to the CAPSTAN programme (see below for more reasons why to subscribe!).
… as a trainer:
CAPSTAN needs academics passionate about teaching marine science!
Applications for our second voyage will be posted in October 2018. We are scheduled to depart from Hobart, Tasmania 29th April, 2019, arriving in Fremantle, Western Australia, 9thMay, 2019. This training voyage will consist of practical hands-on research, sea training, theoretical lectures and an assessment of student’s ability to communicate scientific findings and ideas. Applications are open only to Australian Institutional Academics and Research personnel only. Applicants from subscribed CAPSTAN institutions will receive priority consideration.
Support our Mission!
CAPSTAN needs stakeholder support!
Our approach will be heavily informed by your opinions, expectations, and experiences of graduate training initiatives and education received by marine scientists. The CAPSTAN aims to increase Australian student qualifications, improve scientific outputs and reputations, enhance employability skills, and increase the use of national infrastructure. On behalf of the CAPSTAN Foundational Alliance, we are excited to introduce our Business Investor Prospectus. We invite you to consider becoming part of this first of its kind and truly national sea-training programme on-board the RV Investigator. These outcomes have the potential benefit you and your industry for years to come.
We are currently looking for industry sponsorship and collaboration, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interesting in climbing aboard this exciting initiative.
If you are a representative of the marine science industries, government or tourism, please download our capstan-business-prospectus.
If you are from an Australian university, please download our capstan-university-prospectus.
Where can I learn more?
Here are a few resources and webpages which will provide more detail on the background and context for the project.
CSIRO National Research Infrastructure: National Facilities and Collections
We’re here to answer any questions you might have!
For all general enquiries please email us at:
Dr. April Abbott, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
About the network
The Irish SMART Programme
CAPSTAN would like to thank the Irish SMART programme, and in particular, Pauhla McGrane of the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology for their continued support and encouragement of the CAPSTAN initiate.
Research vessel-based training in Ireland has been in place since 1986, however, in 2008 the Irish Marine Institute with the Higher Education Authority developed a pilot programme to coordinate the use of national infrastructure for training with a specific desire to increase national capacity, skills and expertise. The trial was successful and led to the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART). SMART commenced in 2011 by integrating five Higher Education Institutions with the Marine Institute and the Higher Education Authority to pool existing facilities, expertise and infrastructure to develop and deliver efficient, accredited, customised education programmes. SMART has since trained 300 marine-related students annually on the RV Celtic Voyager and in 2014, ran 12 national and international training programmes, one of which is IMarEST (Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology) accredited.
The Irish SMART programme is an outstanding example of a collaborative and integrated national marine training programme upon which Australian higher educational institutions and existing national facilities and institutes can model a new national educational framework and collaborative programme.
For more information on the SMART programme, follow the link to their website http://www.smartseaschool.com/
School of the Sea
School of the Sea programs have previously existed in Australia, with the last being the internationally-open University of the Sea program between 2005-2010 (Armand et al. 2015). The aim of the University of the Sea was to enable senior researchers from the region and overseas to work with young local scholars on marine issues of direct interest to the Asia-Pacific region. Unlike the University of the Sea, SMART2, now CAPSTAN, aims to be foremost, an annual, permanent national student program delivering a nationally agreed curriculum. Education at sea is a theme where northern hemisphere universities, institutions and governments have many years of experience alignment post-graduate attributes gained by learning undertaken at sea and addressing stakeholder needs a part of education frameworks in Ocean Sciences and Technology (Henriet et al. 2010). The basis of many of these programs is experiential learning (Evans 1994) or immersive education (Dennison & Oliver 2013).
Meet our team
Director: April N Abbott, PhD
April Abbott is a lecturer in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Macquarie University. Dr. Abbott is a sedimentary geochemist with seagoing experience on multiple research vessels including the R/V Investigator. Her PhD is in Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Science with an accompanying certificate in College & University Teaching.
Current CAPSTAN Members
|Chair: TBD||Industry/Government||Independent Chair, external stakeholder.|
|Mr Ben Rae||Acting Director Marine National Facility||MNF liaison, scheduling, logistic support, web and publicity support. Advice on Stakeholder needs.|
|Dr. April Abbott||Macquarie University||Director, liaison between all groups.|
|Prof. Peter Steinberg||Director Sydney Institute of Marine Science|
Champion for SIMS, national Masters hosting programme support,
web and publicity support.
|Prof. Susan Jones||University of Tasmania||LTAS SCIENCE author, expert in curriculum design.|
|Dr Pauhla McGrane||Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology|
Director of Irish SMART programme. International sea training
curriculum and logistical expert.
|Mr Tim Moltmann||Director Integrated Marine Obs. System|
Champion for IMOS integration, educational product development
and educational tool workshops.
|Dr Adam Lewis||Geoscience Australia||Advice on Stakeholder needs.|
|Mr Phillip Boxall||Aust. Antarctic Division||Advice on Stakeholder needs.|
Academic and Institutional Representatives from subscribed CAPSTAN members
- Subscriptions in process
|April Abbott/Martin Ostrowski||Macquarie University|
|Phil Boxall||Australian Antarctic Division|
|Leah Moore||University of Canberra|
|Jenny Davis/Penny Wurm/Karen Gibb||Charles Darwin University|
|Laura Harman||Deakin University|
|Zanna Chase||University of Tasmania|
|Tom Hubble/Eleanor Bruce*||University of Sydney|
|Sophie Leterme*||Flinders University|
|Pascale Quester*||Adelaide University|
|Katerina Petrou/ Martina Doblin *||Uni. of Tech., Sydney|
|Michael Ellwood *||Aust. Nat. University|
|Lynnath Beckley*||Murdoch University|
CAPSTAN Sponsors of Student Mobility (2017-2019)
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
CAPSTAN Foundational Alliance members (2015-2016)
Academic Advisory & Implementation Group
|Dr A. Abbott||Macquarie University||Project leader & group liaison, web content, oceanography.|
|Dr M. Ostrowski||Macquarie University||molecular community liaison.|
|Prof. I Suthers||UNSW, Australia||zooplankton ecologist, state government dept. liaison.|
|A/P. M Roughan||UNSW, Australia||physical oceanographer.|
|Dr K. Petrou *||Uni. of Tech., Sydney||curriculum development.|
|Dr S. Holmes||Uni. Western Sydney||benthic ecologist|
|Dr E. Bruce||University of Sydney||coastal/marine geomorphologist.|
|Prof. R. Coleman||University of Tasmania||Govt contacts, physical oceanographer, quantitative skills.|
|Prof. Ranmuthugala||Aust. Maritime College||Extensive educational training at sea, engineer.|
|A/P. M. Ellwood||Aust. Nat. University||marine chemist.|
|Dr J. Bourget*||Uni. Western Australia||marine geologist, international program experience.|
|Dr Chris Cvitanovic*||MNF Policy Officer||MNF liaison & web assistance, marine policy.|
|Dr Ana Lara-Lopez*||IMOS Officer||IMOS liaison & web assistance, Government contacts.|
|Postgraduate Program||SIMS||SIMS liaison and web assistance.|
|Dr Leah Moore||Uni. Canberra||Volcanology, hydrogeological Landscape (HGL), science education|
Pilot Programme Institutional Partners ( * finalising subscription)
Macquarie University – Adelaide University*, Australian National University*, University of Canberra – Charles Darwin University – Deakin University – Flinders University* – Murdoch University* – University of Tasmania – University of Technology, Sydney* – The University of Sydney* – University of Western Australia* – Australian Government Department of the Environment (Australian Antarctic Division).
Pilot Programme Sponsors of Student Mobility
MARGO, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
Pilot Programme Supporters
Marine National Facility (MNF)-CSIRO, Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)
Original CAPSTAN Foundational Alliance
Macquarie University – Marine National Facility (MNF) – Australian Government Geoscience Australia – Australian Government Department of the Environment (Australian Antarctic Division) – Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) – University of New South Wales – Australian National University – The University of Western Australia – Western Sydney University – The University of Sydney – The University of Tasmania – Australian Maritime College – University of Technology Sydney – University of Canberra – Flinders University – Sydney Institute of Marine Science – The Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training
RGC: Branding & Design Agency was contracted to develop the initial CAPSTAN logo.