Population Ecology

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  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project A7 - "Monitoring population dynamics of ‘Western’ Right Whales off Southern Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Continuation (since 1993) of annual aerial surveys, to include counts and identification photographs, of Southern Right Whales between Cape Leeuwin (WA) and Ceduna (SA), where wintering animals come close to the coast – adult females to calve, at approximately three-year intervals, other adults and juveniles less regularly. The area is the main wintering ground of a major ‘western’ subpopulation of ‘Australian’ right whales, differing in number and extent of recovery (from 19th century hunting) from an ‘eastern’ subpopulation which so far shows little if any recovery. Counts allow estimation of population trend and current numbers; identification photographs allow estimation of life history parameters. This project serves to implement a very high priority action in the Australian Government’s Conservation Management Plan for Southern Right Whale (2011-21) – Action Area B1: Measuring and monitoring population recovery; continue to obtain and refine population abundance and trends for the south-west population. Planned Outputs • Counts of animals (by class – cows accompanied by calves, other animals, by position (GPS) and time. • Head and (where appropriate) body photographs, by position and time. • Information on Biologically Important Areas for Southern Right Whales in the area surveyed. • ‘Progress’ and ‘Final’ reports, annually • Report annually to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. • Public information through press releases and on the Museum website.

  • This record describes the sample collection location for grey nurse shark as part of NESP MB Project A9 - Grey Nurse Shark CK-MR Population Estimate – East Coast. The data attached to this record describes the locations and vB parameters of tissue samples collected between December 2002 and April 2017. Sequencing data will be added to ALA as it becomes available. See for updates.

  • The aim of this study was to assess how individual size-at-hatching and food consumption influences the growth of Octopus pallidus hatchlings reared under simulated seasonal temperature regimes in Tasmania.

  • In Tasmania, SCUBA surveys of seahorses populations were conducted. Intensive surveys were conducted in 2000 to 2004 in the Derwent River around Hobart (submonthly & then monthly) and twice yearly surveys from 2004/5 on east coast and Derwent River, until 2007. Mark-recapture studies were done to estimate population size, and life history parameters.

  • By utilising targeted microprobe technology, the analysis of elements incorporated within the hard bio-mineralised structures of marine organisms has provided unique insights into the population biology of many species. As hard structures grow, elements from surrounding waters are incorporated effectively providing a natural ‘tag’ that is often unique to the animal’s particular location or habitat. The spatial distribution of elements within octopus stylets was investigated, using the nuclear microprobe, to assess their potential for determining dispersal and population structure in octopus populations. This was investigated in adult Octopus pallidus sourced from a commercial fishery in Tasmania.

  • White sharks are listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and actions to assist their recovery and long-term viability are prescribed in a national recovery plan for the species. A priority action is to develop an effective means of estimating the size of white shark populations and monitor their status (population trend). This would provide a scientific basis for assessing recovery actions, and for local policies governing human-shark interactions: an issue of significant public concern. NESP Project A3 provides a national assessment of the southern-western adult white shark population abundance and an update of the total eastern Australasian white shark population abundance and status in order to establish the efficacy of existing recovery actions and provide a scientifically sound and rational basis from which to inform policies that aim to balance conservation objectives and public safety. This record describes white shark distribution and movement through the use of acoustic and electronic tags fitted to approx. 70 animals. Tag detection data are continually uploaded to the IMOS Animal Tracking Facility (ATF) database. This data collection has been granted Protected Species Status and access to the data is currently restricted. Refer to the Point of Contact listed in this record for further information regarding access to data.

  • A novel method was used to investigate the population structure and dispersal patterns of Octopus maorum, an octopus species with a planktonic larval stage, which forms a distinct and large aggregation in southeast Tasmania. Single and multi-elemental signatures within the ‘early life history’ region of the stylet (an internal ‘shell’) were used to determine levels of connectivity and the common origins of individuals collected from 5 locations across Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand.

  • Landings surveys of bycatch of Solegnathus assessed from interviews with fishers in important fishing ports of NSW and Victoria, ranging from the Brunswick-Byron co-op to Portland in Victoria.

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project A3 - "A national assessment of population status of White Sharks". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- White sharks are listed as Vulnerable under the EPBC Act and the subject of a national recovery plan, yet there is still no effective way to assess their population status and thus no way of determining the efficacy of conservation actions. Recent debate due to various human-shark interactions has highlighted the need for further information. This Project provides a national assessment of white shark population size and status in order to establish the efficacy of existing recovery actions and provide a scientifically sound and rational basis from which to develop policies that balance conservation objectives and public safety. Planed Outputs • Tools to refine and integrate CK-MR, electronic tagging distribution 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 planned for grey nurse sharks). • National estimates of (census) population size and trend for white sharks in Australian waters (western and eastern populations respectively) are established that fulfil the highest priority actions of the National Recovery Plan. • New genetic and statistical tools trialled for the estimation of historical population trend from contemporary tissue samples for key species for which other methods of population assessment are unreliable or unavailable. • Provide information that identifies movement corridors, hotspots and contributes to management strategies for top-order marine predators • Estimate juvenile white shark survival and abundance for input into integrated national population assessment models in order to refine population estimates. • National-level information on habitat use, behaviour and spatial dynamics of white sharks at various scales used to provide the scientific underpinning for government decisions and policies as well as provide for more informed public debate. • Identify national strategies to monitor white 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.

  • Assessment of trade in Australian syngnathids was estimated from semi-structured interviews with traditional medicine merchants and aquarium businesses in Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane. A database of official records of international trade in syngnathids was also sourced from Department of Environment & Heritage (Federal).