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2016

87 record(s)
 
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  • 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 Rottnest Island, a popular family holiday destination just 20 km off the Perth coast. One of the main drawcards of the island is the diverse marine life inhabiting the surounding waters, which Western Australian locals and tourists can experience by snorkelling, diving, boating and fishing. The marine environment around Rottnest includes seagrass meadows, kelp-covered reef tops, coral patches, and sponge gardens in deeper water. As a result of the warm, southward flowing Leeuwin Current, the island represents the southern limit of the distributions of many tropical corals and fish. The marine life around Rottnest therefore represents a unique mix of tropical and temperate species and habitats.

  • 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 Jurien Bay. The Jurien Bay marine environment is highly diverse, and is home to a wide variety of species, including sea lions and sea birds on the many offshore islands. Limestone reef and seagrass habitats in the area support a diverse fish and invertebrate fauna, and a local crayfishing industry is based around the Western Rock Lobster (Panulirus cygnus).

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    Opportunistic visual surveys were conducted in transit to, and within, the Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) in the Timor Sea during September and October 2012 onboard the RV Solander. This resource comprises species lists and estimated counts of marine mammals, sea snakes, seabirds, sea turtles and other large wildlife encountered during the voyage. The Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve survey was undertaken as an activity within the Australian Government's National Environmental Research Program Marine Biodiversity Hub and was the key component of Research Theme 4 - Regional Biodiversity Discovery to Support Marine Bioregional Plans. Hub partners involved in the survey included the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Geoscience Australia, the University of Western Australia, Museum Victoria and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Data acquired during the survey included: multibeam sonar bathymetry and acoustic backscatter; sub-bottom acoustic profiles; physical samples of seabed sediments, infauna and epibenthic biota; towed underwater video and still camera observations of seabed habitats; baited video observations of demersal and pelagic fish, and; oceanographic measurements of the water column from CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) casts and from deployment of sea surface drifters. Further information on the survey is available in the post-survey report published as Geoscience Australia Record 2013/38: Nichol, S.L., Howard, F.J.F., Kool, J., Stowar, M., Bouchet, P., Radke, L.,Siwabessy, J., Przeslawski, R., Picard, K., Alvarez de Glasby, B., Colquhoun, J., Letessier, T. & Heyward, A. 2013. Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Timor Sea) Biodiversity Survey: GA0339/SOL5650 - Post Survey Report. Record 2013/38. Geoscience Australia: Canberra. (GEOCAT #76658).

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project A8 - "Exploring the status of Western Australia’s sea snakes". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- All sea snakes are listed marine species under the EPBC Act and three Australian endemic species are listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered, and as such are a national conservation priority. This project examines existing data from the northwest marine region to define sea snake relative abundance and distribution patterns, including within CMRs, to refine species status. Synthesis of existing data will be useful to DOE, DPaW, Parks Australia and others. This analysis will help establish baseline data, guide future research, define abundance in and use of CMRs and refine EPBC listings and recovery plans. Planned Outputs • A report outlining the presence and relative abundance of sea snakes in northwestern Australia with a focus on reef and shoal habitats including identification of BIAs or key habitats where possible. Research and management priorities will be highlighted. • Presentation of results to key stakeholders and end users • Presentation of recommendations at scientific conferences • Communication of findings to the broader community via social media

  • 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

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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 C1 - "Improving our understanding of pressures on the marine environment". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- The marine environment in Australia is influenced by a wide range of different pressures that impact on different parts of the marine ecosystem in different ways. This project aims to assist DoE, and other research users, to improve understanding of the potential impacts of anthropogenic disturbance to marine conservation values by providing up-to-date data and analyses on the spatial distribution of pressures and trends. The research is designed to inform decision making under the EPBC Act (acceptability of proposed activities, evaluation of effectiveness of mitigation measures) on NMES (including Key Ecological Features), implementation of multiple strategies in four Marine Bioregional Plans (i.e. strategies B, C, D and F), management of Commonwealth Marine Reserves (e.g. strategies 1 and 2 in the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network Management Plan 2013-23) and State of the Environment reporting. The project will involve a re-examination of the pressure analyses undertaken through the marine bioregional planning program and the 2011 SOE Report (marine chapter) and determine where pressure mapping can be improved to enhance those analyses (for instance for those pressures for which data deficiency was identified). It will also examine the strengths and weaknesses of the different pressure assessment methodologies used by both the MBP process and the SOE 2011 process and propose a methodology that can support both initiatives into the future. The project will provide pressures profiles for CMRs and will assist Parks Australia in understanding how pressures interact with the values they identify in CMRs. The project will also consider relative impact, and how spatial mapping can assist in understanding both relative and cumulative impact. As an adjunct to the cumulative impact investigation, the project will also investigate how changes in socio-economic valuing of conservation values may influence the degree of investment in understanding and management of cumulative impact. This particular work will further the risk-based approach to cumulative impact that was investigated under the NERP Hub. Planned Outputs • Produce description of summary of changes and trends in pressures on the commonwealth marine environment in the offshore marine environment from 1991 to 2010. • Production of inshore and offshore pressure summaries to inform SOE reporting (2011-2015) • Produce description of trends in pressures acting on the commonwealth marine environment (onshore & offshore) between 1991 & 2015, with refined summaries for all KEFs and CMRs. • Distribute pressure data and pressure data summaries through NPEI compliant data infrastructure. • Produce analysis and description of the likely future states (for example, climate (interannual and decadal), shipping, modification of fisheries activity, coastal eutrophication) • Re-evaluation of the pressure assessments published in the 2012 Marine Bioregional Plans , ensuring consistency of output, updating the profiles for all KEFs • Report on the changing socio-economic valuing of conservation values to the concept of acceptable impact, or acceptable risk of impact • Report on a risk based framework to manage the uncertainty information bases for different decision making requirements with example case

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project A9 - "Grey Nurse Shark CK-MR Population Estimate – East Coast". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- A review of the 2002 National Recovery Plan for Grey Nurse Shark (DEWHA 2009) concluded it was not possible to determine if the east coast population had shown any signs of recovery (DoE 2014); recommending a new recovery plan be developed for this species. A primary objective of the new recovery plan (DoE 2014) is to improve knowledge of GNS population status. This will require a robust estimate of population size and trend – something that has not been provided to date. This project will use genetic SNP data to inform close kin-mark recapture analysis to estimate population size and trend, and provide guidance on future monitoring strategies for the east coast population of grey nurse shark. Planned Outputs • Tools to refine and integrate CK-MR and species demographic data for population assessments of a key threatened species at a national scale (combining knowledge developed under this project combined with similar techniques being applied under NESP to euryhaline sharks and white sharks). • A national estimate of (census) population size and trend for the eastern Australian population of grey nurse shark will be developed to fulfil the highest priority actions of the National Recovery Plan. • Identify national strategies to guide future monitoring of grey nurse shark populations. • The project will provide peer-reviewed additions to the scientific literature that will add to the science-support for the development and implementation of policies to support the ecologically sustainable management of Australia’s marine environment.