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  • 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 - "Australia’s Coastal Shorebirds: Trends and Prospects". No data outputs were generated by this project. -------------------- Coastal Australia is home to 37 regularly occurring migratory shorebird species, with many protected areas including Ramsar sites designated on the basis of shorebird populations. Many migratory shorebirds are declining rapidly, and hence the focus of conservation efforts at multiple levels of government in Australia and overseas. However, trend data are now nearly 10 years old, meaning the information available to assess where conservation actions are needed most urgently and whether conservation efforts are helping species recover are outdated. To ensure populations have the best chance at recovery and that resources are allocated where they are most likely to have the greatest positive impacts, it is critical to maintain up-to-date information on species trends. This project analyses 30 years of shorebird monitoring data collected by citizen science groups across Australia and curated by BirdLife Australia’s National Shorebird Monitoring Program.to update national trend estimates, while also assessing the relative effects of human pressure and conservation efforts on population trends. This project will set the stage for building the next decade of coastal shorebird conservation activity in Australia, coordinated through the national mechanism of the End User: National Migratory Shorebird Conservation Action Plan Steering Committee, with representatives from national and state governments as well as leading shorebird experts. Outputs • Final technical report with analysed data and a short summary of recommendations for policy makers of key findings [written] ---no data outputs were generated by this project---

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub Research Plan 2023 project "Delineation and estimation of the Maugean skate population in Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- The endangered Maugean skate is now only found in Macquarie Harbour, which has a long history of environmental degradation, and recent research suggests that the population may be declining. However, our current abundance estimation tools are inadequate to determine population status and a new method is needed. This project will use next generation genetic sequencing and novel imaging survey tools to delineate and estimate the size of the Macquarie Harbour Maugean skate population to inform conservation strategies. There is also a need to investigate the evolutionary potential of the Maugean skate to adapt to the changing environmental conditions. This research will address these needs by examining the skate's genetic diversity and fine-scale population structure using whole genome typing, and developing a high-resolution dataset of genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms. This genetic approach will help inform adaptive management strategies, such as captive breeding, and enhance our ability to detect differentiated lineages with adaptive potential. Outputs • Tissue sampling results and genome-wide population genetic structure [dataset] • Adaptive resolution imaging sonar (ARIS) and lidar water column scanning [dataset] • Final project report [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - "A photo-identification study of southern right whales to update aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- The population of Southern Right Whales (SRW) in the Southern Hemisphere has been recovering slowly from near extinction due to its decimation from whaling before its ban in the mid-1970’s. As the species recovers, there is increasing evidence of expansion of aggregation areas. Consequently, there is a need to update known established aggregation areas and Biologically Important Areas (BIAs) and update relevant Marine Parks management plans based on new evidence. This project proposes to collate and complete photo-ID matching since 2010 to 2020 in the southwest of Australia and upload images to the National ARWPIC catalogue. Outputs • Photo-identifications of individual whales in southwestern Australia for 1991-2021 (photo-matches contributed to ARWPIC) • A report including evidence and recommendations for updating aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia according to the Commonwealth criteria [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub Research Plan 2023 project "Informing southern right whale management through continued monitoring, determination of aggregation areas and development of approaches to increase data flow efficiencies and utility". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- This project will deliver priority information on southern right whales to address key knowledge gaps through: (i) updating long-term population abundance trends via aerial surveys of the western population and testing of platforms for improving photo-identification data flow efficiencies; (ii) the collection and utilisation of photos of the western population to identify biologically important reproductive areas and inform the estimation of population parameters;(iii) development of integrative methods for combining opportunistic and more formally collected observations, to expand the utility of datasets and (iv) collection of movement and genetic data to assess the connectivity and population identity of whales at the boundary of the eastern and western subpopulations. It will also conduct a consultative process for prioritising future work for informing future NESP work. Outputs • Updated southern right whale population assessments [dataset] • Individual whale photo-identifications in aggregation areas [image catalogue] • Updated SPRAT and BIA distributions [dataset] • Whale movement tracking [dataset] • Genetic data (for estimates of population connectivity) [dataset] • Final project report [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - "Conservation of spotted handfish". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Spotted handfish are a critically endangered fish that inhabit a rapidly developing coast. This bridging project continues efforts to conserve the species with on-ground actions guided by research. Previous NESP work (A10) helped developed a 23-year time-series of surveys, increased biological understanding and established effective management actions. This new work will recommence surveys of multiple local populations, after a two-year gap, to ensure potential impacts of development of the Derwent estuary and surrounds handfish populations or their habitats can be detected. We will also identify where to plant Artificial Spawning Habitats (ASH) where natural spawning structures have declined. We will continue to support our captive breeding program with industry and foster engagement with the indigenous and broader community through participation, talks, outreach, publications, and the National Handfish Recovery Team (NHRT). Outputs • A consolidated database of all available data on spotted handfish imagery, length frequency, and GPS regions to 2022 [time-series database] • 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 bridging study - "A photo-identification study of southern right whales to update aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Aerial surveys of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) have been conducted across the southern Australian coast from Perth (W.A.) to Ceduna (S.A.) since 1993, as part of a long-term program to monitor the recovery, and inform the Conservation Management Plan (2011-2021), for this Endangered species (under the EPBC Act). The 2020 aerial survey recorded substantially lower numbers of whales than in the previous 13 years, and the lowest number of non-calving whales since the program started. An aerial survey conducted by this project in August 2021 will provide a relative estimate of annual population size for determining longer term population trends and contribute to determining if 2020 was an anomalous year or an indicator of some longer-term change to recent recovery rates and the female breeding cycle. Outputs • Aerial whale survey data (counts by size class, number, and location) - 2021-22 season [dataset] • Individual whale photo-identification data - 2021-22 season [imagery - published to ARWPIC] • 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 bridging study - "Aerial survey of the Southern Right Whale ‘western’ sub-population off southern Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Aerial surveys of Southern Right Whales have been conducted across the southern Australian coast from Perth, WA to Ceduna, SA since 1993, as part of a long-term program to monitor their recovery. The surveys data provide a long-term population trend for this ‘western’ population, and provide an understanding of connectivity with the ‘eastern’ population as part of a national population assessment. The NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub funded the aerial surveys in 2015–2020 and the Marine and Coastal Hub funded the survey in 2021. (See Project 1.26: https://catalogue.aodn.org.au/geonetwork/srv/eng/catalog.search#/metadata/b85b2c7d-4631-477a-9217-2cae65f9cf0a) The 2022 survey ensures an uninterrupted time series in the long-term population trend data for this Endangered species. This is particularly important given the non-annual breeding cycle (typically every three years), such that annual surveys are essential to maintain an acceptable level of precision in estimating population trends and key life history parameters (calving intervals) to track the recovery of the species. Continued monitoring of the population is needed to evaluate whether there is a longer term and continuous change (in population size and calving intervals) in the population as indicated by recent sightings and population trend data. Outputs • Estimate of relative abundance and population trend compared to long-term aerial survey sightings [dataset] • Individual whale photo-identification data - 2021-22 season [imagery - published to ARWPIC] • Final technical report detailing overall numbers of southern right whales observed within the survey region, their gender (and life stage where possible) and spatial distribution of individuals [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub Research Plan 2023 project "Eastern Grey Nurse Shark population abundance and trend". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- The eastern population of grey nurse shark, Carcharius taurus, is listed as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act 1999, and a strategy to ensure recovery was implemented in 2002 with the development of the first recovery plan. The recovery plan updated in 2014 identifies priorities that require ongoing research that form the basis of this proposed project. This includes research to refine the abundance and trend estimate for the eastern Australian population of grey nurse shark and examine the potential for range expansion into Victorian waters. This will add value to recent age and growth estimates and examine epigenetic ageing of juveniles. Such information is important to inform the assessment of current conservation arrangements such as spatial closures. Outputs • Tissue samples and extracted products from juvenile grey nurse sharks [dataset] • Final project report [written]