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biota

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  • A comparison was made of sediments and associated macrobenthos at sites sampled within 42 fish farm leases distributed across Tasmania. Several key biotic and abiotic metrics recommended in previous studies for assessing environmental impacts of fish farm waste were investigated.

  • The phenotypic plasticity of habitat-forming seaweeds was investigated with a transplant experiment in which juvenile Ecklonia radiata and Phyllospora comosa were transplanted from NSW (warm conditions) to Tasmania (cool conditions) and monitored for four months. We used multiple performance indicators (growth, photosynthetic characteristics, pigment content, chemical composition, stable isotopes, nucleic acids) to assess the ecophysiology of seaweeds before and following transplantation between February 2012 and June 2012.

  • Shifts from productive kelp beds to impoverished sea urchin barrens occur globally and represent a wholesale change to the ecology of sub-tidal temperate reefs. Although the theory of shifts between alternative stable states is well advanced, there are few field studies detailing the dynamics of these kinds of transitions. In this study, sea urchin herbivory (a ‘top-down’ driver of ecosystems) was manipulated over 12 months to estimate (1) the sea urchin density at which kelp beds collapse to sea urchin barrens, and (2) the minimum sea urchin density required to maintain urchin barrens on experimental reefs in the urbanised Port Phillip Bay, Australia. In parallel, the role of one of the ‘bottom-up’ drivers of ecosystem structure was examined by (3) manipulating local nutrient levels and thus attempting to alter primary production on the experimental reefs. It was found that densities of 8 or more urchins m-2 (≥ 427 g m-2 biomass) lead to complete overgrazing of kelp beds while kelp bed recovery occurred when densities were reduced to ≤ 4 urchins m-2 (≤ 213 g m-2 biomass). This experiment provided further insight into the dynamics of transition between urchin barrens and kelp beds by exploring possible tipping-points which in this system can be found between 4 and 8 urchins m-2 (213 and 427 g m-2 respectively). Local enhancement of nutrient loading did not change the urchin density required for overgrazing or kelp bed recovery, as algal growth was not affected by nutrient enhancement.

  • Projects including exploratory trawl surveys of the shelf and slope waters off southern Australia, targeted studies of specific fisheries, e.g. trawl fisheries for blue grenadier and orange roughy, purse seine fishery for jack mackerel, gillnet fishery for blue warehou, the coastal reef fishery for live fish fishery, inshore shark fishery, along with commercial catch sampling (on board and market sampling) have yielded an extensive dataset that includes biological, distribution and abundance information for a diverse range of finfish species from South East Australia. These data have been compiled into a single database and cover collections made between the late 1970s and mid 1990s. Note, selected data for key species (e.g. banded morwong, bastard and striped trumpeter) have been extracted and uploaded into Access databases (refer to scalefish research database, post mid-1990s).

  • The fatty acid content and composition of the Antarctic krill Euphausia superba Dana, 1850 were investigated using samples collected by a commercial fishing vessel. This dataset allowed comparison between seasons, years (2013–2016), and different fishing locations. Quantities of omega 3 fatty acids 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3 (mg/g dry mass; DM) were highest in autumn and decreased through winter to reach a spring low. Quantities of the flagellate marker 18:4n-3 and diatom marker 16:1n-7c were variable and did not display the same seasonal fluctuations. In summer, krill had high percentages (% total fatty acids) of 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3, total PUFA, and low 18:1n-9c/18:1n-7c ratios, indicating a more herbivorous diet. Krill became more omnivorous from autumn to spring, indicated by increasing ratios of 18:1n-9c/18:1n-7c and percentages of Σ 20:1 + 22:1 isomers. Bacterial fatty acids (Σ C15 + C17 + C19 isomers) were minor components year-round (0.9–1.8 %). Seasonal levels of herbivory and omnivory differed between years, and levels of specific fatty acid ratios differed between fishing locations. The fatty acid 18:4n-3 was a major driver of variability in krill fatty acid composition, with no obvious seasonal driver. This is the first study to report krill fatty acid data during all four seasons over consecutive years. This large-scale study highlights the value of using fisheries samples to examine seasonal and annual fluctuations in krill diet and condition.

  • Data collected to measure foraging and reproductive success. Stored as time series data including mass, condition (fat stores), length, girth, offspring survival and growth. Data collected and methodology used varies depending on species.

  • The predators of Centrostephanus rodgersii, were identified using remote video monitoring. Experiments were performed in two eastern Tasmanian regions, the Maria Island Marine Reserve (MIMR, 42° 35.26'S, 148° 3.03'E) and the Crayfish Point Research Reserve (CPRR, 42° 57.37'S, 147° 21.30'E). The impact of fishing on these predators, and ultimately on C. rodgersii, was examined by comparing survival of C. rodgersii on reefs inside no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) (high predator biomass) relative to fished reefs (low predator biomass). The size-specific nature of predation interactions was examined in context of size-selective fishing pressures within the sea urchin's extended range.

  • This data is part of the 2013 report "Synthesis of seagrass mapping studies conducted by the Water Science Branch of the Department of Water".

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    Raw time series of depth, water temperature, light and swim speed. Stomach temperature and heart rate are available in some instances, but the data is sparse. Data was collected using time/depth recorders and satellite telemetry. Ancillary location was recorded from a separate logger.

  • Stable isotope data, fatty acid and diet data was collected from a number of predator species in the southern ocean. Data was collected from blood, blubber, feathers and whisker samples