Australia and New Zealand have vast marine jurisdictions and, through the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, have extended or will extend their seabed jurisdictions well beyond the 200-nautical-mile limit of their already very large Exclusive Economic Zones. Having claimed this marine jurisdiction, they will logically need to increase marine research efforts there by deploying a full range of scientific tools. The coring capabilities of IODP provide important tools, including some capable of sampling sub-bottom environments where key biogeochemical transformations occur, such as the formation of methane hydrates.
Australian and New Zealand scientists will gain through shipboard and post-cruise participation in cutting edge science, by building partnerships with overseas scientists, by having research proponents and co-chief scientists who can steer programs and outputs, and by early access to key samples and data. They will also have the opportunity of science training for post-doctoral and doctoral students in marine science that could not be obtained in any other way. Our region is the best in which to address various global science problems, and some of them cannot be addressed elsewhere. Being a member of IODP will help us maintain our leadership in Southern Hemisphere marine geoscience research.
Access to existing cores from the world’s oceans can be obtained for the Deep Sea Drilling Project (early predecessor of IODP) through http://www.deepseadrilling.org/ the Ocean Drilling Program (recent predecessor of IODP) through http://www.odplegacy.org/ and for IODP through its core repositories at http://iodp.tamu.edu/curation/repositories.html