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  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub project E6 - "Assisting restoration of ecosystem engineers through seed-based and shoot-based programs in the Shark Bay WHS". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- This project is a collaboration between scientists and the Shark Bay Malgana Indigenous community into jointly developed seeding and shoot planting methods to assist natural recovery of seagrasses in preparation for future devastating impacts of climate change. The Shark Bay World Heritage Site (WHS) is unique globally for its natural values, including stromatolites, seagrass meadows and marine megafauna including dugongs, sharks, turtles, and dolphins. The immediate goal is to scale up the existing restoration research to assist recovery of the dominant seagrasses, Amphibolis antarctica and Posidonia australis following the 2011 marine heat wave. Planned Outputs • A seagrass restoration toolkit (multimedia and report format) - will include information on sourcing suitable genetic material • Data on the trial seed restoration outcomes

  • 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 scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Emerging Priorities project - "Spatial distribution of marine wildlife in the Bremer Bay region". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- The Bremer Canyon system is a recognised aggregation area for marine wildlife and predictable aggregations of the orca (Orcinus orca) underpin local ecotourism. Additionally, the value of the region has been recognised in the establishment of the Bremer Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) ( and the identification of the Albany canyon group and adjacent shelf break as a Key Ecological Feature in the South-West Marine Bioregional Plan (;jsessionid=01AD87551D0DE1B0248C8722BE137004). Little is known about the shelf and canyon region given its remote location and the relatively high cost of conducting offshore research. However, citizen-driven science has documented a stable aggregation of marine wildlife including orcas, sperm whales (Physeter microcephalus), and giant squid (Architeuthis sp.) occurring to the west of the established CMR. There is also speculation that this stable wildlife aggregation may be driven by seabed oil seeps with a hydrocarbon-based food chain although this is unsubstantiated. The potential uniqueness of this wildlife aggregation within the region and what drives its presence remains unknown. There is a significant need to determine the regional importance of this aggregation and its relation to the existing protection afforded by the Bremer CMR. The objective of this project is to improve the understanding of the importance of the Bremer CMR and surrounding region to marine wildlife. The project will determine the distribution of key wildlife of interest across the recognised pelagic aggregation and the Bremer CMR in order to inform Australian Government decision-making to protect the environment, conserve biodiversity and allow for sustainable use. The project will also improve understanding about the likely causes for wildlife aggregations and provide recommendations for future research options. Planned Outputs • A workshop of key experts, managers and external stakeholders to build on the literature review, identify additional data sources and recommend research priorities; • A workshop report including a literature review to synthesise existing information, data and publications on the region in relation to wildlife aggregations, general ecology, oceanography and productivity; • Marine wildlife survey – given the need to cover a large spatial area (i.e. the CMR and the known aggregation area in a single day), the preferred method is for an aerial survey with two observers. We propose that the team mobilises from Esperance given proximity to the CMR and ability to refuel etc. A team of two (2) scientific observers will be included plus an opportunity for an additional observer. The research will involve five (5) days of aerial surveying over no more than a seven (7) day period. The project will investigate the occurrence and distribution of orcas both inside and outside the known aggregation area (including the Bremer CMR). • Analysis of existing acoustic data – Curtin University holds data from acoustic surveys and will interpret these data in the context of distinguishing the presence and distribution of orcas, other cetaceans and other biota. • Analysis of existing orca distribution data within the aggregation – Curtin University has previously collected data on visual sightings of orcas at the aggregation. These data will be the spatial and temporal distribution of orcas at the aggregation site. This has the capacity to identify key patterns in orca behaviour within the known aggregation area. • Collation of orca observations held by ecotourism operator Naturaliste Charter – this collation will provide the opportunity to determine how best to use these data and generate communication products given the collection of imagery. • Pelagic fish survey – an existing planned survey to the Bremer CMR will be extended to include the aggregation area to allow the diversity, abundance and biomass of pelagic sharks and fishes in the CMR and the aggregation area to be compared. This will allow a comparison of the relative richness of the known aggregation area to the CMR with respect to pelagic shark and fish abundance. • Hydrocarbon signals in squid - Preliminary investigation into whether hydrocarbon signals can be detected in squid as a first step in determining whether the wildlife aggregation may be supported by hydrocarbon seeps. Murdoch University hold squid samples from the aggregation area that form the basis of this analysis. • Movement data to determine how adult orcas use the Bremer CMR and the aggregation area - tags will also be placed on at least three (3) adult orcas from the known aggregation site to clarify if those individual orcas are also transiting or using the Bremer CMR. • Knowledge exchange and communication outputs – each component of the project will produce materials for use by Parks Australia. Likely considerations are 3D fly-thru, animations, infographics, brochure, videos, articles. • Reporting outputs – a progress report focussing on completed field work and preliminary results will be produced followed by a final synthesis report.

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project D3 - "Implementing monitoring of AMPs and the status of marine biodiversity assets on the continental shelf". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- There is a significant need to support Parks Australia in the establishment of an inventory and monitoring program for Australian Marine Park (AMP) networks, and ensure it is integrated within broader national monitoring frameworks. The first part of this project provided a national collation all known mapping data from government and industry (including data acquired during CERF and NERP Hubs) to improve understanding of the distribution and extent of this key habitat around Australia, and to identify critical gaps in this knowledge to be filled by targeted surveys. This significantly improved understanding of KEF boundaries and conservation values or assets within Commonwealth Marine Reserves on Australia’s continental shelf. A classification system was developed for these reefs, and matched with refinement of inventory and monitoring approaches to track reef health through time, including standard approaches to SOE understanding and reporting consistent with measures developed for coastal systems within NESP (i.e. see project C2). This also involved collation of all mapping data on non-reef hard substrate, and all non-reef soft substrate, with this information also being available as a significant output. The second part of this project initiates a series of surveys, utilising standard operating procedures (SOPs), to demonstrate a sustainable path for a national survey program. By facilitating national approaches, including a standards-based approach to collecting new marine data, project outcomes will include key steps to assist Parks Australia to implement and initiate an AMP monitoring program, new knowledge to inform AMP management, a national integrated framework for State of Environment (SOE) reporting, and collaboration between State-based and Commonwealth-based programs. Planned Outputs • National-scale map of the distribution and extent of reef/non-reef habitat on the Aus continental shelf • Collation of all available mapping data for the Aus continental shelf • Detailed reports specific to each AMP survey, including a plain English summary • Survey data stored in national databases and portals • New multibeam mapping data from AMP survey areas and adjacent waters • New data on benthic invertebrate cover obtained from AUV imagery surveys • New data on benthic fish abundance obtained by BRUV surveys

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project D1 - "Ecosystem understanding to support sustainable use, management and monitoring of marine assets in the North and North-west regions". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Effective management of marine assets requires an understanding of ecosystems and the processes that influence patterns of biodiversity. Focusing on the North and North-west regions, this project will leverage previous research to improve ecosystem understanding through a synthesis of existing information and by making testable predictions about the character and extent of conservation values, including for key ecological features (KEFs) and Commonwealth Marine Reserves. End-users and stakeholders will benefit from improved regional descriptions of marine ecosystems and uncertainty statements. In turn, this will inform prioritisation of future investments in monitoring marine ecosystems and State of the Environment reporting. Planned Outputs • A report on the synthesis (based on collations completed in 2015) of datasets and models for the North and NW identifying areas of greatest information coverage, gaps and themed to CMRs and KEFs in those regions. This report will also describe key spatial patterns in biodiversity (benthic and pelagic) and associations between benthic environments, fish and megafauna and large scale processes (e.g. oceanography). • Predictions and related products (maps) of the spatial distribution of biodiversity across the Oceanic Shoals CMR that encompasses benthic habitat, pelagic and demersal fish and megafauna communities. This will provide an example/test case at the National Prioritisation Workshop of how confidently predictive modelling can be used to describe assets and values in data poor areas to inform management and monitoring. • An updated conceptual model of ecosystem processes (benthic and pelagic) within the Oceanic Shoals CMR based on extension of modelling into pelagics. • A review of existing knowledge of the Ancient Coastline KEF. • A qualitative model of Glomar Shoal KEF (to be confirmed in consultation with DOE). • Communication products that capture activities and general interest stories of scientific results disseminated through NW Atlas social media links. • Upload of new relevant spatial data layers in NW Atlas for management and planning, and engagement with end users to maximize uptake of the NW Atlas products.

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    The National Environmental Science Program projects SS2 and D7 (under the Marine Biodiversity Hub) and 1.3 (under the Marine and Coastal Hub) were instigated to support the design of Monitoring Effectiveness (ME) framework for Australian Marine Park (AMP) estate, and contribute to the AMP Science Plan. The overall objective of these projects was to provide a nationally accepted common language to describe natural values and pressures, and a robust approach to combining this information to inform national priorities for monitoring inside AMPs. Broadly, the following approach was taken: 1. Identify Key Natural Values (KNVs) in AMP networks through an expert elicitation process, 2. Develop a national-scale ecosystem map via a combination of depth and characteristic habitat using the ME framework 3. Collate and synthesise pressures operating within Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone and state/territory waters, as defined by the ME framework's pressures common language 4. Provide a spatially explicit analysis of the relative risks posed to marine conservation values, as defined by the ME framework’s natural values hierarchy. This record describes component 3: collating the pressures by ME common language for all of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone and state/territory waters; and determining the cumulative pressure exerted by each activity/sub-activity combination. Components 1, 2 & 4 will be described elsewhere.

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub bridging study - "Support for Parks Australia’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement System for Australian Marine Parks". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- This project aims to continue scientific support for developing the Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) system for Australian Marine Parks (AMPs). Specifically, it will provide a major input to the development of Science Plans for the AMP networks and Coral Sea Marine Park (CSMP). This project builds on the achievements of pilot research conducted through the SS2 and D7 projects as part of NESP1, which designed and implemented a fit-for-purpose approach to identify monitoring priorities for natural values and pressures for the South-east Marine Parks Network. The project provides the scientific and technical information, and advice, to apply the tools and approaches from SS2 and D7 to the remaining AMP Networks and the CSMP to support development of the remaining Science Plans. The project collates and analyses environmental and human use-data, and produces reports and data and mapping products, for each of the four remaining networks and the CSMP. The key outputs and reports identify the monitoring priorities in each Network and the CSMP and help to identify key knowledge gaps to help inform research priorities. Outputs • Digital map layers per AMP network of: (1) Ecosystems (2) Key natural values (3) Activities (4) Cumulative impacts (5) Monitoring priorities • final technical report with analysed data, including a short summary of recommendations for policy makers of key findings (written report)

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project D2 - "Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for survey design, condition assessment and trend detection". There are no data outputs anticipated for this project. -------------------- Understanding of the status and trends of indicators in Australia’s marine environment requires standardised monitoring, without which monitoring is unlikely to be comparable through time and space – status and trends are unlikely to be available. This project will build on the monitoring blueprint by providing foundation for Standard Operating Procedures in the collection and analysis of monitoring data. In particular, the project will 1) provide some delineation of what kind of monitoring is required (and when), 2) providing a simple tool for designing surveys in space that also analyses the resulting data, and 3) provide a worked end-to-end SOP example for a baited underwater video for collection of data in benthic key ecological features (including recommendations for field protocols to ensure ecological relevance). Planned Outputs • Standard Operating Protocol (SOPs) for deploying observation platforms, processing raw data and then analysing processed data for a set of ‘no regrets’ objectives. This includes clear recommendations about how to choose sampling locations and how to analyse the resulting survey data. • A piece of software (an R package) that implements spatially balanced designs. The software will require a minimal skill level. • A worked example, from a partner project, that will form the template for future surveys. • Scientific publications, which will be made publicly and freely available within 12 months of publication.

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    1:100,000 coastal wetland vegetation mapping for Queensland including mangrove communities, saltpans and saline grasslands. Mapping taken from Landsat TM images with ground truthing. Additional metadata is available for details of techniques and accuracy for each section of coastline. Data Currency for each section of coast: NT border to Flinders River - 1995 SE Gulf of Carpentaria - 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992 Cape York Peninsula - 1986-88, 1991 Cape Trib to Bowling Green Bay - 1997-99 The Burdekin Region - 1991 The Bowen Region - 1994-95 The Whitsunday Region - 1997 Repulse Bay - 1989 Central Qld - 1995, 1997 The Curtis Coast Region - 1997 Round Hill Head to Tin Can Inlet - 1997 Moreton Region - 1995.