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2016

87 record(s)
 
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  • The phenotypic plasticity of habitat-forming seaweeds was investigated with a transplant experiment in which juvenile Ecklonia radiata and Phyllospora comosa were transplanted from NSW (warm conditions) to Tasmania (cool conditions) and monitored for four months. We used multiple performance indicators (growth, photosynthetic characteristics, pigment content, chemical composition, stable isotopes, nucleic acids) to assess the ecophysiology of seaweeds before and following transplantation between February 2012 and June 2012.

  • Shifts from productive kelp beds to impoverished sea urchin barrens occur globally and represent a wholesale change to the ecology of sub-tidal temperate reefs. Although the theory of shifts between alternative stable states is well advanced, there are few field studies detailing the dynamics of these kinds of transitions. In this study, sea urchin herbivory (a ‘top-down’ driver of ecosystems) was manipulated over 12 months to estimate (1) the sea urchin density at which kelp beds collapse to sea urchin barrens, and (2) the minimum sea urchin density required to maintain urchin barrens on experimental reefs in the urbanised Port Phillip Bay, Australia. In parallel, the role of one of the ‘bottom-up’ drivers of ecosystem structure was examined by (3) manipulating local nutrient levels and thus attempting to alter primary production on the experimental reefs. It was found that densities of 8 or more urchins m-2 (≥ 427 g m-2 biomass) lead to complete overgrazing of kelp beds while kelp bed recovery occurred when densities were reduced to ≤ 4 urchins m-2 (≤ 213 g m-2 biomass). This experiment provided further insight into the dynamics of transition between urchin barrens and kelp beds by exploring possible tipping-points which in this system can be found between 4 and 8 urchins m-2 (213 and 427 g m-2 respectively). Local enhancement of nutrient loading did not change the urchin density required for overgrazing or kelp bed recovery, as algal growth was not affected by nutrient enhancement.

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    The Flinders CMR AUV survey was a pilot study undertaken in June 2013 as part of the National Marine Biodiversity Hub's National monitoring, evaluation and reporting theme. The aim of this theme is to develop a blueprint for the sustained monitoring of the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network. The particular aim of the survey was to contribute to an inventory of the distribution and cover of epibenthic biota in the reserve using IMOS AUV 'Sirius'. Data contained here represents a scored subset of the ~ 36,700 images collected at the Flinders CMR. Images were scored for proportion cover of visible macrobiota using 25 random points superimposed on each image. Taxon were biologically classified using CATAMI (http://catami.org/).

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project B2 - "Analysis and elicitation to support State of the Environment reporting for the full spectrum of data availability". No data outputs are expected for this project. -------------------- The availability and quality of observation data that may be used to support State of the Environment reporting lies on a spectrum from: (i) high quality (e.g. Reef Life Survey, Long term reef monitoring programme, Temperate Reef Monitoring programme, state-based MPA monitoring programmes); (ii) moderate quality (e.g. continuous plankton recorder, occasional by catch surveys); (iii) low quality (anecdotal information) to (iv) expert beliefs but no empirical observations. We currently lack a principled process for utilising and merging data of varying quality and from different sources to form a national perspective to support State of the Environment reporting. The key unifying principle to support such a process is the extent to which the available data is representative of the environmental asset in question. As the extent to which the empirical observations accurately represent the state of the asset in both space and time diminishes, so the reliance on expert opinion increases, to the limit where the only available information is expert opinion. This project will provide an over-arching framework to consider these issues, develop practical protocols for blending different data streams with or without experts’ judgement as appropriate, and thereby provide a foundation for improving State of Environment reporting for all types of data sources, from high to low quality. It will do this by developing and applying protocols to support development of the marine chapter of SoE 2106. This currently being developed within a separate CSIRO funded project. The project will use the experience of developing this chapter to make recommendations about appropriate methodologies for future environmental reporting. Importantly the statistical approach and analysis principles will be consistent regardless of the amount or quality of the information available. As a result the framework and analysis methods will remain relevant, even as the quality and quantity of environmental data at the department’s disposal changes. This will provide the consistency of analysis and reporting that is essential to SoE. Expected Outcomes • The provision of two or three examples that demonstrate a unified approach to the use of expert opinion in SoE reporting. These examples will be identified in close collaboration with the Department and will be developed in time to support the marine chapter of 2016 State of the Environment report, contingent on the availability of resources in the second year of the project and timely interaction with the department. • Assessments of the status and trends of environmental assets in the State of the Environment report will be based on a principled and statistically defensible process that can merges and utilises data from all sources including expert opinion.

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project A6 - "Prioritisation of research and management needs for Australian elasmobranch species". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- NERP successfully demonstrated new ways to get the raw ingredients for evidence-based management of previously intractable species: abundance, survival, connectivity. But there is still a need to explore/demonstrate how management can use these tools (e.g. adaptive control of bycatch, or deciding if more monitoring is needed), and which species are suitable. This project comprises (i) a workshop to re-assess Australian shark and ray species in terms of degree-of-concern, state-of-knowledge-for-management, and feasibility-of-filling-knowledge-gaps; and (ii) a desk study exemplifying one pathway to management use. In 2016, we will work with DoE to prioritize species for research and explore more management pathways. Planned Outputs • A report outlining workshop findings, recommendations relative to data gaps and effective research approaches to address these gaps. • A paper demonstrating how management can use new methods to examine adaptive monitoring of bycatch to assess impact • Presentation of results to key stakeholders and end users

  • This metadata record provides a brief overview of the National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine Biodiversity (MB) Hub. The record acts as an aggregation point for all NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub data collections and projects developed as part of this research program. The National Environmental Science Program (NESP) is a $142.5 million initiative of the federal government providing a long-term commitment to environment and climate research. The programme builds on its predecessors – the National Environmental Research Program (NERP) and the Australian Climate Change Science Programme (ACCSP) – to support decision-makers to understand, manage and conserve Australia’s environment by funding world-class biodiversity and climate science. The NESP funding program runs from July 2015 to June 2021 and provides funding for six research hubs. The Marine Biodiversity Hub is a collaborative partnership supported by funding from the Australian Government administered by the Department of the Environment's National Environmental Research Programme. The Marine Biodiversity Hub is comprised of scientists from 10 major research institutions undertaking research of Australian oceans and marine environments, including temperate coastal water quality and marine species. The Marine Biodiversity Hub is administered by the University of Tasmania, and led by Professor Nic Bax. The 4 themes of the Marine Biodiversity Hub under the NESP program include: A. Improving the management of threatened and migratory species B. Supporting management decision making C. Understanding pressures on the marine environment D. Understanding biophysical, economic and social aspects of the marine environment Research products from the NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub are available from http://nespmarine.edu.au and the Australian Ocean Data Network catalogue (http://catalogue.aodn.org.au)

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project C3 - "Change detection and monitoring of key marine and coastal environments – application of the Australian Geoscience Data Cube". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- This project aims at leveraging the extensive time-series of earth observation image data in the Australian Geoscience Data Cube (AGDC) by developing change detection algorithms to analyse key environmental parameters in the coastal and marine zone. Spatial information produced by this project can inform management decisions, and assist in evaluating management action outcomes, by providing a quantifiable measure of historical change and ongoing monitoring and change detection capabilities. In Phase 1 of this project we aim to demonstrate the capability of using the AGDC through the development of an inter-tidal zone change detection algorithm and data set, with a view to developing and implementing an expanded range of stakeholder targeted algorithms to inform decision making processes in Phase 2. Planned Outputs • Progress Report • Demonstrator summary Report • Data Products (GIS maps and data, delivered from the GA website as a web service) • Marine Biodiversity Hub article • Pesentation at the Australian Marine Science Association Conference.

  • The Marine Futures Project was designed to benchmark the current status of key Western Australian marine ecosystems, based on an improved understanding of the relationship between marine habitats, biodiversity and our use of these values. Approximately 1,500 km2 of seafloor were mapped using hydroacoustics (Reson 8101 Multibeam), and expected benthic habitats "ground-truthed" using towed video transects and baited remote underwater video systems. Both sources of information were then combined in a spatial predictive modelling framework to produce fine-scale habitat maps showing the extent of substrate types, biotic formations, etc. Surveys took place across 9 study areas, including Geographe Bay in the southwest Capes region. The marine environment at this location varies from extensive seagrass meadows in protected waters, to kelp-dominated granite and limestone reefs in areas of high wave energy. A small number of corals are also found throughout the region, reflecting the influence of the southward flow of the Leeuwin Current. The fish fauna is also diverse, with a high proportion of endemic species.

  • The Marine Futures Project was designed to benchmark the current status of key Western Australian marine ecosystems, based on an improved understanding of the relationship between marine habitats, biodiversity and our use of these values. Approximately 1,500 km2 of seafloor were mapped using hydroacoustics (Reson 8101 Multibeam), and expected benthic habitats "ground-truthed" using towed video transects and baited remote underwater video systems. Both sources of information were then combined in a spatial predictive modelling framework to produce fine-scale habitat maps showing the extent of substrate types, biotic formations, etc. Surveys took place across 9 study areas, including Mount Gardner, a site located just off Two People’s Bay, 30km east of the town of Albany. The area is host to a number of human uses, including recreational and commercial fishing, diving, surfing, recreational boat use and shipping and mining. The marine environment at this location is different to the other three study locations on the south coast, in that it encompasses the protected Two Peoples Bay with seagrass and invertebrate communities and the more exposed rocky and macroalgal reefs around the Mt Gardner peninsula itself.

  • NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project C2 involved integration and analysis of three existing monitoring datasets: the Reef Life Survey (RLS), IMAS Long-term MPA (LTMPA), and AIMS Long-term (AIMS LTM) monitoring programs. These analyses involved generating new derived data on indicator values for survey sites in each of the datasets, which have been reported in the 2016 State of the Environment (SoE) report. Indicators included the biomass of large fishes, the community temperature index, the proportion of invasive species, crown-of-thorns seastar density and the proportion of threatened species. Details of calculation of these indicators and summary of trends in values across sites and times are provided in detail in a manuscript currently in the review process for an international journal [RSS to provide publication details once available], as well as in metadata supplied for the State of the Environment report. This metadata record provides links to each of the three datasets used in the synthesis, and links to access the derived biological indicator data reported in the 2016 SoE report. See "On-Line Resources" section.