National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine and Coastal Hub

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  • 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 (

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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 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 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 project "Improving knowledge transfer to support Australian Marine Park decision making and management effectiveness evaluation". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- In the last decade Australia’s researchers have made significant progress to provide managers with data and data products to inform the planning and establishment of Australian Marine Parks (AMPs). However, further work is required to adequately meet the data product requirements for assessing AMP management effectiveness. This project addresses this problem by: 1) Identifying priority data and data products to support characterisation of marine systems and reporting on AMP monitoring priorities; 2) Assessing availability and delivery mechanisms of high priority data and data products and whether they are fit for purpose; and 3) Estimating condition of park values (excluding cultural values) and assessing management effectiveness with available data/knowledge. This project advances the Hub’s Protected Place Management Initiative and contributes to the national need for improving access to data and expanding the Australian Ocean Data Network. Outputs • Documented data and data product priorities organised in one or more data product hierarchies including monitoring priorities and their indicators where appropriate [written] • A fit for purpose assessment of priority data products [written] • Methods for estimating current condition status of AMP values [written] • Recommendations for how to progress priority data sets that do not currently meet the established criteria but are required for characterising, protecting, and assessing current condition status of AMP values [written] • Final project report [written] ---specific data outputs to be generated by this project are yet to be confirmed---

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub project "Advancing national standards and best practices to monitor key marine values and pressures". No data outputs are expected to be generated by this project. -------------------- This project aims to advance the establishment and use of national standards and best practices to monitor the condition status of priority values and pressures of Australia’s marine estate. It will build on the national standards and best practice process developed in the previous NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub to produce three new national standards for monitoring (drop cameras, socioeconomic surveys of marine users, marine microplastics). A practical implementation plan will be developed to embed the application of standards, with particular attention to inclusive and diverse approaches (e.g. engagement of community groups and Indigenous partnerships). The plan will set out a future path to develop, maintain and make available national standards; increase their uptake; and assess effectiveness and impact as related to the delivery of priority monitoring activities. Outputs • Workshop and questionnaire report gauging the needs of scientists, Indigenous communities, and marine managers [written] • Scientific publication on marine best practice development [written] • New national standards for (1) drop cameras; (2) socioeconomic surveys; and (3) microplastics studies [written] • Implementation plan (final report) [written] ---no data outputs will be generated by this project---

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - "A national framework for improving seagrass restoration". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Across Australia, the loss of >275,000 ha of seagrass meadows and associated ecosystem services – valued at AU$ 5.3 billion – has contributed to the long-term degradation of estuarine and coastal marine ecosystems. Restoration of seagrass is critical for improving the health and function of these ecosystems and sustaining coastal communities and industries that depend on them. This is primarily because restoration practices are piecemeal and driven by local drivers and are generally not conducted at scales of seagrass loss. We address this problem by bringing together scientists and key stakeholders to collate knowledge on seagrass ecology and restoration and generate a framework to scaling-up restoration nationally. We also build on ongoing restoration trials to test the proposed framework.These are: assessing sediment quality and manipulations (Gamay Rangers, UNSW); use of sediment filled hessian tubes for seed and seedling capture (Malgana Rangers, UWA), and: scaling up seed collection for seed-based restoration (Seeds for Snapper, OZFISH, UWA). Planned Outputs • Effect of sediment quality and manipulation on seagrass transplant success (field data) • Locations and health of beachcast fragments of Posidonia in Botany Bay (field data) • Effect of engineering hydrodynamics (by use of hessian socks) on seagrass transplant success (field data)

  • 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]

  • 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]

  • Tidal wetlands are vulnerable to accelerated rates of sea-level rise projected by climate models. The Surface Elevation Table (SET) is a technique applied globally to assess the extent of vertical adjustment of tidal wetlands to sea-level rise over decadal timescales. This record describes the SET data from the Australian network (OzSET). This data can be used for analyzing wetlands elevation change at the study sites