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Centre for Marine Futures, The University of Western Australia (UWA)

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  • This dataset describes the relative abundance of an assemblage of commercially exploited demersal fishes in northwestern Australia, mapped over a 30 arc-minute (0.5 degree) spatial grid. The data cover the period 1997-2006 and are derived from an analysis of commercial landings available through the Sea Around Us Project (http://www.seaaroundus.org/). Further methodological details can be found in the following peer-reviewed publication, which applies the same analysis to a suite of mobile pelagic species: Bouchet PJ, Meeuwig JJ, Huang Z, Letessier TB, Nichol SL, Caley MJ, Watson RA. 2016. Continental-scale hotspots of pelagic fish abundance inferred from commercial catch records. Global Ecology and Biogeography. Below is a full list of species/genera/families considered, with their respective contributions to the total catch (%): -------------------------------------------------- Mustelus -- 26.1948% Platycephalidae -- 23.3191% Seriolella -- 10.8968% Sillaginidae -- 9.4242% Genypterus blacodes -- 5.8347% Pristiophorus -- 4.4934% Tetraodontidae -- 4.3235% Nemadactylus -- 4.2784% Squatinidae -- 3.6071% Mugilidae -- 3.181% Sparidae -- 2.7037% Chelidonichthys kumu -- 0.7146% Rajiformes -- 0.4497% Pterygotrigla polyommata -- 0.3911% Scorpaenidae -- 0.1292% Callorhinchus milii -- 0.0367% Rhombosolea -- 0.0046% Pleuronectiformes -- 0.0034% Leiognathidae -- 0.003% Lates calcarifer -- 0.0029% Ariidae -- 0.0025% Sciaenidae -- 0.0017% Nemipteridae -- 0.0014% Nemipterus -- 0.0014% Upeneus -- 0.001% Data will be attached to this record once analyses are completed, est. December 2016.

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    This dataset describes the relative abundance of an assemblage of commercially exploited pelagic fishes around Western Australia, mapped over a 30 arc-minute (0.5 degree) spatial grid. The data cover the period 1997-2006 and are derived from an analysis of commercial landings available through the Sea Around Us Project (http://www.seaaroundus.org/). Further details can be found in the following peer-reviewed publication: Bouchet PJ, Meeuwig JJ, Huang Z, Letessier TBL, Nichol SL, Caley MJ, Watson RA. 2017. Continental-scale hotspots of pelagic fish abundance inferred from commercial catch records. Global Ecology and Biogeography. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12619 Below is a full list of species considered, with their respective contributions to the total catch (%): -------------------------------------------------- Greenback horse mackerel / Trachurus declivis -- 10.92 % Greater amberjack / Seriola dumerili -- 0.05 % Samson fish / Seriola hippos -- 0.01 % Silver gemfish / Rexea solandri -- 2.80 % Snoek / Thyrsites atun -- 1.22 % Indo-Pacific blue marlin / Makaira mazara -- 2.87 % Striped marlin / Tetrapturus audax -- 0.26 % Black marlin / Makaira indica -- 0.17 % Indo-Pacific sailfish / Istiophorus platypterus -- 0.06 % Shortbill spearfish / Tetrapturus angustirostris -- 0.00 % Bluefish / Pomatomus saltatrix -- 0.13 % Southern bluefin tuna / Thunnus maccoyii -- 19.17 % Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel / Scomberomorus commerson -- 16.93 % Skipjack tuna / Katsuwonus pelamis -- 9.82 % Yellowfin tuna / Thunnus albacares -- 9.40 % Bigeye tuna / Thunnus obesus -- 7.67 % Albacore tuna / Thunnus alalunga -- 4.16 % Longtail tuna / Thunnus tonggol -- 0.78 % Kawakawa (mackerel tuna) / Euthynnus affinis -- 0.56 % Wahoo / Acanthocybium solandri -- 0.01 % Great barracuda / Sphyraena barracuda -- 0.25 % Tope shark / Galeorhinus galeus -- 6.66 % Swordfish / Xiphias gladius -- 6.09 %

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    This dataset derives from deployments of pelagic baited camera systems (stereo-BRUVS) conducted within the Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) in the Timor Sea during September and October 2012 onboard the RV Solander. This resource comprises species lists and relative abundance data (measured as MaxN, the maximum number of individuals of a given species captured in any one frame) for 116 sampling sites surveyed across three focal areas. The Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve survey was undertaken as an activity within the Australian Government's National Environmental Research Program Marine Biodiversity Hub and was the key component of Research Theme 4 - Regional Biodiversity Discovery to Support Marine Bioregional Plans. Hub partners involved in the survey included the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Geoscience Australia, the University of Western Australia, Museum Victoria and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Data acquired during the survey included: multibeam sonar bathymetry and acoustic backscatter; sub-bottom acoustic profiles; physical samples of seabed sediments, infauna and epibenthic biota; towed underwater video and still camera observations of seabed habitats; baited video observations of demersal and pelagic fish, and; oceanographic measurements of the water column from CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) casts and from deployment of sea surface drifters. Further information on the survey is available in the post-survey report published as Geoscience Australia Record 2013/38: Nichol, S.L., Howard, F.J.F., Kool, J., Stowar, M., Bouchet, P., Radke, L.,Siwabessy, J., Przeslawski, R., Picard, K., Alvarez de Glasby, B., Colquhoun, J., Letessier, T. & Heyward, A. 2013. Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Timor Sea) Biodiversity Survey: GA0339/SOL5650 - Post Survey Report. Record 2013/38. Geoscience Australia: Canberra. (GEOCAT #76658).

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    Opportunistic visual surveys were conducted in transit to, and within, the Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) in the Timor Sea during September and October 2012 onboard the RV Solander. This resource comprises species lists and estimated counts of marine mammals, sea snakes, seabirds, sea turtles and other large wildlife encountered during the voyage. The Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve survey was undertaken as an activity within the Australian Government's National Environmental Research Program Marine Biodiversity Hub and was the key component of Research Theme 4 - Regional Biodiversity Discovery to Support Marine Bioregional Plans. Hub partners involved in the survey included the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Geoscience Australia, the University of Western Australia, Museum Victoria and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Data acquired during the survey included: multibeam sonar bathymetry and acoustic backscatter; sub-bottom acoustic profiles; physical samples of seabed sediments, infauna and epibenthic biota; towed underwater video and still camera observations of seabed habitats; baited video observations of demersal and pelagic fish, and; oceanographic measurements of the water column from CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) casts and from deployment of sea surface drifters. Further information on the survey is available in the post-survey report published as Geoscience Australia Record 2013/38: Nichol, S.L., Howard, F.J.F., Kool, J., Stowar, M., Bouchet, P., Radke, L.,Siwabessy, J., Przeslawski, R., Picard, K., Alvarez de Glasby, B., Colquhoun, J., Letessier, T. & Heyward, A. 2013. Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Timor Sea) Biodiversity Survey: GA0339/SOL5650 - Post Survey Report. Record 2013/38. Geoscience Australia: Canberra. (GEOCAT #76658).

  • This dataset provides predictions of pelagic vertebrate species richness and relative abundance throughout sub-areas of the Oceanic Shoals Australian Marine Park (AMP). Predictive models were constructed from in situ observations made using mid-water stereo-BRUVS (baited remote underwater video systems) deployed at 116 sites within three sampling areas in the western half of the AMP. Sampling took place in September and October 2012 aboard the RV Solander (survey GA0339/SOL5650), as part of an expedition supported by the National Environmental Research Programme's Marine Biodiversity Hub (Theme 3). Expedition partners included the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Geoscience Australia (GA), The Centre for Marine Futures at the University of Western Australia (UWA), and the Northern Territory Museum. Full methodological details can be found in the following peer-reviewed publication: Bouchet, P.J., Letessier, T.B., Caley, M.J., Nichol, S.L., Hemmi, J.M., Meeuwig, J. (2020). Submerged carbonate banks aggregate pelagic megafauna in offshore tropical Australia. Front. Mar. Sci. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00530

  • 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) (https://www.environment.gov.au/topics/marine/marine-reserves/south-west/bremer) and the identification of the Albany canyon group and adjacent shelf break as a Key Ecological Feature in the South-West Marine Bioregional Plan (https://www.environment.gov.au/sprat-public/action/kef/view/23;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.

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    This dataset describes visual sightings of marine megafauna (whales, dolphins and sharks) obtained during a series of dedicated aerial surveys conducted as part of a NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub project within and around the Bremer Marine Park, southern Western Australia. The data reflect 25 hours of observer effort (on transect), and 62 sightings of four identifiable species, including killer whales (Orcinus orca), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.). Numerous unidentified cetaceans and sharks were also seen. For more information, see: https://www.nespmarine.edu.au/project/ep2-surveying-marine-life-canyons-bremer-bay

  • This dataset describes the predicted occurrence of juvenile sharks around Northwest Australia, mapped over a 0.01 degree spatial grid. Juvenile sharks were mapped at two taxonomic levels: order by including all juvenile sharks sampled (all juveniles) and species by considering the three most abundant species sampled separately (grey reef (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), sandbar (Carcharhinus plumbeus), and whitetip reef (Triaenodon obesus) sharks). The data cover the period 2003-2013 and are derived from an analysis of count data derived from baited remote underwater videos deployed through various sampling programs. Further detail can be found in the following peer-reviewed publication: Oh, BZL, Sequeira, AMM, Meekan, MG, Ruppert, JLW and Meeuwig, JJ (2017), Predicting occurrence of juvenile shark habitat to improve conservation planning. Conservation Biology, 31: 635–645. doi:10.1111/cobi.12868 Below is a full list of species, with contributions to the total counted (%): -------------------------------------------------- Silvertip shark / Carcharhinus albimarginatus – 4.14% Grey reef shark / Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos – 28.06% Bronze whaler / Carcharhinus brachyurus – 0.18% Galapagos shark / Carcharhinus galapagensis – 0.09% Bull shark / Carcharhinus leucas – 0.18% Common-Australian blacktip shark / Carcharhinus limbatus-C.tilstoni – 1.38% Blacktip reef shark / Carcharhinus melanopterus – 1.56% Sandbar shark / Carcharhinus plumbeus – 4.78% Spot-tail shark / Carcharhinus sorrah – 0.18% Tiger shark / Galeocerdo cuvier – 2.39% Sliteye-Sharpnose shark / Loxodon macrorhinus-Rhizoprionodon spp. – 6.35% Lemon shark / Negaprion acutidens – 1.01% Whitetip reef shark / Triaenodon obesus – 18.95% Tawny shark / Nebrius ferrugineus – 0.83% Grey carpetshark / Chiloscyllium punctatum – 1.38% Taselled wobbegong / Eucrossorhinus dasypogon – 0.09% Scalloped hammerhead / Sphyrna lewini – 0.46% Great hammerhead / Sphyrna mokarran – 3.86% Zebra shark / Stegostoma fasciatum – 0.83% Sicklefin houndshark / Hemitriakis falcata – 1.01% Grey gummy shark / Mustelus ravidus – 0.28% Archived BRUVS video files used in this study are the intellectual property of multiple institutions and industry partners and are not published in this record. See credits for further information.