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biota

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  • In this study, 34 fledgling Fairy Prions (Pachyptila turtur) recovered during a wreck event in south-eastern Tasmania in 2022 were examined for ingested plastics (number, mass, type, colour, and particle size) and body condition (e.g., wing chord length).

  • The population of southern right whales in the Southern Hemisphere has been recovering slowly from near extinction due to its decimation from whaling before its ban in 1935 and cessation in the mid-1970’s. As the species recovers, there is increasing evidence of expansion of aggregation areas, including breeding grounds off the coast of Australia. Consequently, there is a need to update known southern right whale established aggregation areas recognised nationally as Biologically Important Areas (BIAs), as well as the national Southern Right Whale Conservation Management and Recovery Plan, which are both used in decision-making using new evidence. This project collated over 2000 images collected entirely opportunistically by researchers, volunteer citizen scientists, and whale watch operators, and completed matching of individually identifiable whales in photos (i.e., Photo-ID) between 1991 to 2021 in the southwest corner of Australia to evaluate abundance, residency, site fidelity and connectivity in this historically data limited region. The results are reported in the NESP report for Project 1.22 ("A photo-identification study of southern right whales to update aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia"). A goal of this project was also to upload unique individual southern right whale Photo-IDs into the Australasian Right Whale Photo-Identification Catalogue (ARWPIC; AMMC 2021). The process for these Photo-IDs are briefly described here.

  • Benthic habitat annotations of stereo Baited Remote Underwater Video (Stereo-BRUV) and panoramic drop camera imagery, were completed as part of a report funded by the NESP Marine & Coastal Hub. This report focussed on an IUCN II zone in the South-west Corner Marine Park off the 'Capes region' near Margaret River. These data were analysed in TransectMeasure using a modified version of the CATAMI scheme.

  • This projects' data on abalone translocations is stored in two databases containing data collected for abalone aggregation and larval surveys in Tasmania. Genetic information has also been generated using microsatellites.

  • Most research investigating how ocean warming and acidification will impact marine species has focused on visually dominant species, such as kelps and corals, while ignoring visually cryptic species such as crustose coralline algae (CCA). CCA are important keystone species that provide settlement cues for invertebrate larvae and can be highly sensitive to global ocean change. However, few studies have assessed how CCA respond to low emission scenarios or conditions. In a laboratory experiment, we examined the responses of temperate CCA assemblages to combined warming and acidification projected under low, medium, and high emissions. Net calcification and net photosynthesis significantly declined in all emissions scenarios, while significant reductions in relative growth rates and increases in percentage bleaching were observed in the highest emission scenario. The negative responses of CCA to both low and medium emissions suggest that they may be adversely impacted by combined warming and acidification by 2030 if current emissions are sustained. This will have far reaching consequences for commercially important invertebrates that rely on them to induce settlement of larvae. These findings highlight the need to take rapid action to preserve these critical keystone species and the valuable services they provide.

  • Characterisation of lobster (Jasus edwardsii) abundance and change in abundance at three different sampling sites (Cape Paul Lemanon, North Bay and Fortescue Bay) on the south-east coast of Tasmania, was assessed by GPS tracked SCUBA diver swims of 60 minutes in length whereby GPS was logged approximately every 5 seconds. Large tagged Rock Lobsters were introduced into one of the sampling sites, North Bay (which was closed to fishing). The swims are also being used to assess the impact of reef closure on the local lobster population.

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    In giant crabs (Pseudocarcinus gigas), two sets of data were collected: the first examined changes in egg composition during embryogenesis and the second assessed effects of female size on egg composition.

  • This database contains sampling effort, catch records, biological data, and water quality data for sampling and catches of elasmobranchs in northern Australian rivers, estuaries and coasts undertaken under the National Environmental Research Program (NERP) Marine Biodiversity Hub Project 2.4 'Supporting Management of Listed and Rare Species'. and the National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine Biodiversity Hub Project A1 'Northern Australian Hotspots for the Recovery of Threatened Euryhaline Elasmobranchs'. Surveys using gillnets and rod-and-line were undertaken in the Top End region of the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Selected animals were tagged for movement ecology, habitat use and mortality estimates (acoustic telemetry), and tissue samples were collected from all fish for molecular analyses (population genetics and close-kin mark-recapture).

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    Zooplankton samples were collected at inshore coastal waters of south eastern Tasmania, between the years 1971 and 1972. Three stations were selected to cover the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, mouth of the Derwent River and the Storm Bay areas. Surface, midwater and bottom zooplankton samples were collected monthly for a period of twelve months during the day as well as night time, using horizontal tows. Data for temperature and salinity were also obtained from the stations.

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    In 2002, aerial photography of the Perth metropolitan coastal waters was purpose-flown to obtain high quality imagery of the benthic habitats. This imagery was used to map the coverage of vegetated areas in two selected areas of Cockburn Sound: Southern Flats and Eastern Shoal. Areas of relatively poor visibility, such as the Eastern Shelf, are difficult to map with confidence using these techniques. A ground-truthing survey was undertaken in 2004 to map the seagrass and reef habitats on the Eastern Shelf utilising sidescan sonar, towed video and spot dives.