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  • 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.

  • 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 Project B2 - "Analysis and elicitation to support State of the Environment reporting for the full spectrum of data availability". No data outputs are expected for this project. -------------------- The availability and quality of observation data that may be used to support State of the Environment reporting lies on a spectrum from: (i) high quality (e.g. Reef Life Survey, Long term reef monitoring programme, Temperate Reef Monitoring programme, state-based MPA monitoring programmes); (ii) moderate quality (e.g. continuous plankton recorder, occasional by catch surveys); (iii) low quality (anecdotal information) to (iv) expert beliefs but no empirical observations. We currently lack a principled process for utilising and merging data of varying quality and from different sources to form a national perspective to support State of the Environment reporting. The key unifying principle to support such a process is the extent to which the available data is representative of the environmental asset in question. As the extent to which the empirical observations accurately represent the state of the asset in both space and time diminishes, so the reliance on expert opinion increases, to the limit where the only available information is expert opinion. This project will provide an over-arching framework to consider these issues, develop practical protocols for blending different data streams with or without experts’ judgement as appropriate, and thereby provide a foundation for improving State of Environment reporting for all types of data sources, from high to low quality. It will do this by developing and applying protocols to support development of the marine chapter of SoE 2106. This currently being developed within a separate CSIRO funded project. The project will use the experience of developing this chapter to make recommendations about appropriate methodologies for future environmental reporting. Importantly the statistical approach and analysis principles will be consistent regardless of the amount or quality of the information available. As a result the framework and analysis methods will remain relevant, even as the quality and quantity of environmental data at the department’s disposal changes. This will provide the consistency of analysis and reporting that is essential to SoE. Expected Outcomes • The provision of two or three examples that demonstrate a unified approach to the use of expert opinion in SoE reporting. These examples will be identified in close collaboration with the Department and will be developed in time to support the marine chapter of 2016 State of the Environment report, contingent on the availability of resources in the second year of the project and timely interaction with the department. • Assessments of the status and trends of environmental assets in the State of the Environment report will be based on a principled and statistically defensible process that can merges and utilises data from all sources including expert opinion.

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Synthesis Study - "Interpreting pressure profiles". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- This project has two objectives: (i) provide a spatial explicit analysis of the relative risks posed to marine conservation values, as defined by the natural values hierarchy of Parks Australia's Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) framework, by pressures that operate within Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone and state/territory waters (a "hotspot" analysis); and, (ii) provide a proof of concept of an adaptive, probabilistic assessment of the cumulative risks posed to these values, in a region determined to support the Parks Australia MERI project D7, in a manner that is consistent with the seascape-scale cumulative assessment described in the "Guidelines for analysis of cumulative impacts and risks to the Great Barrier Reef". Planned Outputs • National hotspot maps of risks posed to marine conservation values • Probabilistic assessment (written) of cumulative risks

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project A6 - "Prioritisation of research and management needs for Australian elasmobranch species". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- NERP successfully demonstrated new ways to get the raw ingredients for evidence-based management of previously intractable species: abundance, survival, connectivity. But there is still a need to explore/demonstrate how management can use these tools (e.g. adaptive control of bycatch, or deciding if more monitoring is needed), and which species are suitable. This project comprises (i) a workshop to re-assess Australian shark and ray species in terms of degree-of-concern, state-of-knowledge-for-management, and feasibility-of-filling-knowledge-gaps; and (ii) a desk study exemplifying one pathway to management use. In 2016, we will work with DoE to prioritize species for research and explore more management pathways. Planned Outputs • A report outlining workshop findings, recommendations relative to data gaps and effective research approaches to address these gaps. • A paper demonstrating how management can use new methods to examine adaptive monitoring of bycatch to assess impact • Presentation of results to key stakeholders and end users

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project C3 - "Change detection and monitoring of key marine and coastal environments – application of the Australian Geoscience Data Cube". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- This project aims at leveraging the extensive time-series of earth observation image data in the Australian Geoscience Data Cube (AGDC) by developing change detection algorithms to analyse key environmental parameters in the coastal and marine zone. Spatial information produced by this project can inform management decisions, and assist in evaluating management action outcomes, by providing a quantifiable measure of historical change and ongoing monitoring and change detection capabilities. In Phase 1 of this project we aim to demonstrate the capability of using the AGDC through the development of an inter-tidal zone change detection algorithm and data set, with a view to developing and implementing an expanded range of stakeholder targeted algorithms to inform decision making processes in Phase 2. Planned Outputs • Progress Report • Demonstrator summary Report • Data Products (GIS maps and data, delivered from the GA website as a web service) • Marine Biodiversity Hub article • Pesentation at the Australian Marine Science Association Conference.

  • 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 - "Microplastics in South Eastern Australian coastal waters: synthesising current data and identifying key knowledge gaps for the management of plastic pollution". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Plastic pollution is pervasive in coastal environments globally and in Australia. Due to their small size, microplastics (pieces <5mm) are readily ingested by marine organisms and potentially accumulate across food webs, raising concerns for biota, ecosystem services and human health. Yet, to define guidelines and support policy actions that curb microplastic pollution, managers and decision-makers lack clear, synthesised information on this multifaceted issue, including on occurrence, sources, and pathways of microplastics in coastal and marine environments. This project produces a synthesis of current data on microplastics in South Eastern Australian coastal waters (i.e. South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales) and identify key knowledge gaps for the management of plastic pollution. Planned Outputs • List of compiled datasets relating to microplastics in SE Aus waters [spatial dataset] • Scoping document synthesising the information available on the presence of microplastics in coastal marine environments in South Eastern Australia, its potential sources and pathways [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project B1 - "Road testing decision support tools via case study applications". No data outputs are expected for this project. -------------------- This project will deploy advances in decision-support to assist Commonwealth Marine Reserve managers progress the implementation of evidence-based adaptive management throughout the reserve estate. Two case studies will treat selected decision problems in detail. Specifically: • The identification of decision thresholds that may trigger a change in management, framed within Parks Australia’s performance monitoring template. • The prioritisation of information acquisition through research and monitoring. The two case studies involve coherent integration of ecological models, social and organisational value judgements, and economic analysis. Planned Outputs • Progress reports describing interim outcomes of the (a) decision thresholds and (b) research and monitoring prioritisation case studies. • At least two publications in high impact peer-reviewed journals. • Two final reports describing outcomes of the (a) decision thresholds and (b) research and monitoring prioritisation case studies. • At least two publications in high impact peer-reviewed journals. • Training and associated materials

  • This record provides an overview of the scope and research data outputs of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project E4 - "Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Recent assessment have suggested that Australian marine recreational fishers (MRF) are moving further offshore in pursuit of fishing opportunities, which places them in areas managed by the Australian Government. As recreational fishers are key stakeholders in marine management, of MRF effort, catch, motivations and values are required to effectively inform administration of Australian Marine Parks (AMPs) and fisheries. In 2018 the use of exiting MRF state-wide assessment was trialled in WA and NSW to quantify fishing within the Hunter and Ningaloo AMPs. In 2019 this work will be extended to analyse state charter-boat MRF datasets with a particular emphasis on our selected AMPs and the Perth Canyon AMP. Planned Outputs • State of knowledge and gap analysis of recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters (spatial data) • On ground motivation and targets by active fishers of AMP [report]