National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine and Coastal Hub

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  • A review of peer-reviewed publications was undertaken, focusing on coastal and marine microplastics relevant to South Eastern Australia (South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales), as well as from ongoing citizen science programmes from AUSMAP. This dataset summarises basic information about the microplastics studies: the location of the study; if the study focused on water, sediment or biota; the type of biota (for biotic studies); and the DOI of the publication. Although the primary focus of this study was restricted to southeastern Australia, studies collated from other regions have also been included in this dataset. The outcomes of the literature review for other regions (QLD, NT, SA, WA, Tas) should not be considered comprehensive.

  • This metadata record provides a brief overview of the National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine and Coastal (MaC) Hub. The record acts as an aggregation point for all NESP Marine and Coastal Hub data collections and projects developed as part of this research program. The National Environmental Science Program (NESP) is a long-term commitment by the Australian Government to environment and climate research. The first phase invested $145 million (2014-15 to 2020-21) into 6 research hubs. The second phase invests $149 million (2020-21 to 2026-27) into 4 new research hubs. The program 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 Marine and Coastal Hub is a collaborative partnership supported by funding from the Australian Government administered by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The current NESP funding program runs from 2021 to 2027. The Marine and Coastal Hub is co-administered by the University of Tasmania (UTAS), and the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC). The Marine and Coastal Hub will deliver: • applied research to support management of Australia’s marine and coastal environments including estuaries, coast, reefs, shelf and deep-water • targeted biodiversity and taxonomy products to support efficient system monitoring • environmental monitoring systems and decision-support tools. The hub will also drive coordinated research across all 4 new hubs under NESP’s ‘protected place management’ cross-cutting mission. This research will support management of Australia’s protected places and heritage, including the national park estate and Ramsar sites in both marine and terrestrial environments. Research products from the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub are available from and the Australian Ocean Data Network catalogue (

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - "Towards a consolidated and open-science framework for restoration monitoring". No data outputs are planned for this project. -------------------- Coastal habitat restoration is scaling up rapidly in Australia and covers a range of habitats including oyster reefs, seagrass meadows, mangrove forests, kelp forests, and saltmarshes. Every restoration project includes some attempt at monitoring outcomes but currently these are piecemeal, uncoordinated, often poorly funded, and rarely follow Open Science protocols. Previous NESP-funded projects have improved understanding of the ecology and service provision of threatened ecosystems and established targets for repair based on reference conditions (e.g. Marine Biodiversity project B4). They have also established an extensive database of marine and coastal restoration projects (ARCN: project E5), and have supported the development of monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement systems (MERI) for various sectors or projects. By combining the knowledge of all Australian researchers undertaking monitoring of restoration projects, across multiple habitats, this project will build upon these previous projects to synthesise the approaches for monitoring of habitat restoration. It will also explore integration of new technologies, such as automation, artificial intelligence, and eDNA, within the monitoring framework to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The primary output will be a co-ordinated and open-science framework for restoration monitoring across projects, scales and habitats, that integrates clearly articulated hypotheses to determine the goals for restoration. This framework will streamline development of future restoration projects and ensure that maximum value from monitoring activities is achieved. Planned Outputs • Literature review [written] • Guidelines document (best-practice toolkit) [written] ---no data outputs are planned for this project---

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub scoping study - "Identify knowledge gaps and solutions for extent mapping of Australian marine and coastal wetlands". No data outputs were created by this project. -------------------- Marine and coastal wetlands provide extensive ecosystem services to Australia, and a comprehensive inventory is required for effective conservation and protection. This project will identify key knowledge and inventory gaps and determine solutions to progress a consolidated inventory within the context of a wider review of national mapping capacity for wetlands. Gaps and solutions will be identified through targeted surveys and workshops with end-users and researchers following a review of relevant data and literature. A summary of the status of mapping habitat attributes and services such as blue carbon, coastal protection and shorebird habitat will be produced. The outcome will be identified prioritisation for future investment to fill knowledge gaps. Outputs • Report reviewing and synthesising knowledge gaps in inventory mapping of marine and coastal wetlands, identifying effective solutions, and guiding subsequent research projects for enhancing wetland mapping [written] ---No data outputs were created by this project.---

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub Research Plan 2023 project "Assessing changes in black rockcod abundance and size". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- This project will assess the relative abundance and size of the threatened black rockcod (Epinephelus daemelii) to inform how the species is responding to conservation and management actions. In 2010, a broadscale survey (81 sites) was undertaken in northern NSW and Lord Howe Island, followed by subsequent surveys of a subset of these sites approximately every 4-5 years. This project proposes to repeat the surveys of the initial 81 baseline sites to assess if protection measures, such as marine protected area sanctuary zones, are assisting in recovery of black rockcod. Overall, this will provide a 13-year time series (2010 – 2023) that will be used to indicate if black rockcod are increasing in abundance, getting larger, and/or becoming more widespread, all indicators that can be used to assess if recovery actions being implemented are effective. Outputs • underwater visual census (UVC) data for black rock cod [dataset] • Final project report [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - "Quantifying the ecosystem services of the Great Southern Reef". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- The Great Southern Reef (GSR) is an interconnected system of reefs dominated by kelp forests spanning over 8,000 km along southern Australia. It is a global hotspot for marine biodiversity and endemism, and one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth. Kelp forests, however, are diminishing and evidence-based management is hindered without accurate estimates of their contribution to society and the economy. In this project, we will systematically compile and synthesise existing data on the ecosystem values and services provided by the GSR, including market and non-market values. These assessments will be aligned with existing accounting standards to ensure compatibility with ongoing and future efforts. Outputs • Inventory of data collated and assessed for the purpose of developing ecosystem accounts for GSR • Final technical report with analysed data, including a short summary of recommendations for policy makers of key findings (written)

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub project "Ecological outcomes of wastewater discharges in contrasting receiving environments". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Australia’s Waste Policy Action Plan, Threat Abatement Plan for the impacts of marine debris and Australia’s One Health Master Action Plan all refer to the need for emerging pollutants to be incorporated into contaminant guidelines. Wastewater treatment plants currently report on a limited number of contaminants and lack consistent testing requirements. NESP MaC Scoping Study 1.16 has determined there is a clear and consistent need for data on environmental concentrations of emerging contaminants and an assessment of their impact on ecological communities. This project aims to determine the concentration of emerging pollutants in different wastewater outfall settings, and assess where environmental impacts are greatest. It will also continue to collate, analyse and maintain the information from Water Treatment Authorities on outfall flows, pollutant concentrations and loads and presented annually within the National Outfalls Database. Outputs • Measures of CEC (contaminants of emerging concern) in water samples taken from outfall sites [dataset] • Final project report [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub Research Plan 2023 project 3.7 – Identifying and overcoming barriers to coastal and marine habitat restoration and Nature based Solutions in Australia. No data outputs are planned for this project. -------------------- There is an increasing need for and investment in coastal and marine restoration around Australia to help manage habitat and biodiversity loss, water quality, coastal inundation and erosion, and blue carbon assets. These projects are undertaken by a range of Commonwealth, state and local government agencies, NGOs, and community groups, and range across different habitat types and scale. However, a number of barriers currently preclude widespread uptake and implementation of habitat restoration and nature-based solutions (NbS) in Australia, which centre on: 1) policy and legislative barriers; 2) engineering adoption of NbS; and 3) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion and co-design. Overcoming barriers to marine and coastal restoration, and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) adoption is critical to safeguarding Australia’s marine estate. We focus this research on three thematic areas that represent roadblocks and opportunities for more inclusion in implementing and scaling-up restoration and NbS: 1. Engaging policy & permitting regulators to identify and breakdown barriers for marine and coastal habitat restoration; 2. Understanding and up-take of NbS by the engineering sector; and 3. Inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in restoration and NbS The research will be conducted through in person and/or virtual workshops, with the outcome being advancement of effective approaches to overcome these challenges. Planned Outputs • Final technical report with analysed data and a short summary of recommendations for policy makers of key findings [written]

  • This data is from the 2021 Seeds for Snapper season which is a community volunteer seed based seagrass restoration program located in Perth, Western Australia. It details the effort that went into the collection of Posidonia australis seagrass fruit including number of divers, number of shore support personnel, volunteered hours, and fruit collection metrics (volume, estimated number).

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub project "Mapping temperate continental shelf seabed habitats". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Rocky reefs provide anchors for attached marine invertebrate species such as corals and sponges, creating habitat for mobile invertebrates, and resident and roving fishes and mammals. They are subject to pressures from activities such as fishing, shipping, as well as climate change. Given their important natural, economic and social value, rocky reefs are focus areas for management in marine bioregional plans and Australian Marine Parks (AMPs). Previous collaborative research by the NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub and Parks Australia found that for many AMPs, understanding the extent of seabed habitats (including reef) is a priority for evaluating management effectiveness. While detailed habitat maps exists for many nearshore regions, however, they are lacking for Commonwealth waters. This project will fill gaps in knowledge of the extent and distribution of seabed habitats on Australia’s temperate continental shelf, with a focus on surveys of rocky reefs in the South-west Marine Parks Network and the South-east Marine Parks Network. Existing data will be collated and analysed to validate the presence/absence of seabed habitats on the temperate continental shelf, and drop cameras will be deployed at priority areas the validate habitats. The new knowledge will enhance the capacity of AMP managers to protect marine park values and assess the effectiveness of management. Outputs • Seafloor imagery and annotations [dataset] • Validated habitat maps (for AMPs with detailed observations) [dataset] • Habitat prediction maps (for AMPs lacking observations) [dataset] • Updated reef extent layer for temperate continental shelf [dataset] • Final technical report [written]