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EARTH SCIENCE | HUMAN DIMENSIONS | HUMAN SETTLEMENTS | COASTAL AREAS

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    Habitats serve a variety of functions on the North West Shelf (NWS). They support the life history stages of a diverse suite of tropical species including commercially harvested ones. In addition to natural disturbance regimes, habitats are altered in response to the sectoral uses, which in turn affects the distribution and life histories of species. Habitats thus serve as the nexus linking species with uses and natural disturbance, and different habitats serve different purposes at various stages of the life history of a species. A detailed understanding of habitats, at least at the structural level, is thus a prerequisite for a more comprehensive understanding of ecological structure and functions on the North West Shelf. This component of the North West Shelf Joint Environmental Management Study (NWSJEMS) aimed to collate and integrate data on habitats for the region of the North West Shelf extending from North West Cape to Port Hedland and from the coast to the 200 m isobath. The three main activities of the study were: Development of an integrated collection of information on habitats of the North West Shelf, including expert information; Application of the CSIRO Habitat Classification Framework to the data to determine the spatial nesting and structuring of habitat units on the North West Shelf; and Provision of the habitat structure classification for input into other models developed within NWSJEMS. This record describes data of key benthic marine ecosystems and habitats. These maps and descriptions of their component attributes were designed to assist the process modelling of the ecosystem and impacts of uses, as well as directly supporting planning and management by Western Australian agencies and industries.

  • Seven case study locations (Keep, Daly, Roper, McArthur, Flinders, and Gilbert River estuaries, and Darwin Harbour) were used to test the utility of the Australian Landsat data archive in the Digital Earth Australia analysis platform for characterising and monitoring the condition and change in coastal habitats. A suite of analyses was undertaken including: assessing the extent of different coastal habitats, detecting coastal change including change in mangrove communities, and the distribution of intertidal areas. The work was successful in: (a) generating baseline information for the case study areas; and, (b) developing valuable monitoring tools for future use.

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    This dataset consists of polygons delineating the broad-scale regional marine habitats of selected areas in Western Australia, mostly in existing and proposed marine conservation reserve areas. Habitat mapping was carried out by various organisations, including DPAW, using a range of methodologies over many years. Diverse classifications and habitat descriptions were standardised to the DPaW broad-scale Shallow-water Marine Habitat Classification scheme (SMHC) (Bancroft, 2003) after initial habitat mapping and classification work had been done. Habitat polygons are classified to the broad-scale ecological Community level and where more detailed data exist, local-scale Functional Group level (Bancroft, 2003). Polygons were attributed with habitat class names only, textual descriptions of these classes are provided in this metadata statement and further in Bancroft (2003).

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    The Victorian Benthic Habitats - Western Port Bay (CBICS) is a synthesis of all existing benthic habitat characterisations of the embayment which have been reclassified to conform to the Combined Biotope Classification Scheme (CBiCS). Base layers for the synthesised dataset were sourced from data provided by: Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute, Queenscliff, Victoria Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, Victoria University, Melbourne. Parks Victoria, Victorian Government Deakin University, Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victorian Government

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    The Victorian Benthic Habitats - Port Phillip Bay (CBICS) is a synthesis of all existing benthic habitat characterisations of the embayment which have been reclassified to conform to the Combined Biotope Classification Scheme (CBiCS). Base information for the synthesised dataset were sourced from data provided by: Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute, Queenscliff, Victoria Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, Victoria University, Melbourne. Parks Victoria, Victorian Government Deakin University, Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victorian Government

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    The Victorian Benthic Habitats - Gippsland Lakes (CBICS) is a synthesis of all existing benthic habitat characterisations of the Gippsland Lakes Region which have been reclassified to conform to the Combined Biotope Classification Scheme (CBiCS). The study area for this layer is defined as Jack Smith Lake in the west to Mallacoota in the east.

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    The Victorian seabed habitat map documents the distribution of broad benthic habitat types in Victorian Coastal Waters to the State’s 3 nautical mile jurisdictional limit. The map was created using a top-down modelling process whereby habitat descriptors were assigned using seafloor structure and biological information derived from multibeam sonar (Victorian Marine Habitat Mapping Project), bathymetric LiDAR (Future Coasts program) and observations from underwater video. Identification of benthic biota, to the lowest discernible taxonomic level, and substrate characteristics were recorded according to the Victorian Towed Video Classification scheme (Ierodiaconou et al. 2007).