Marine researchers document continental shelf life
Marine researchers from four Australian research agencies have pooled their skills to compile a definitive directory of Australia's continental shelf marine life.
The Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Marine Biodiversity Hub is a three-year program that has highlighted the complex diversity of Australia's marine shelf ecosystems.
Hub director, Professor Nic Bax of CSIRO and the University of Tasmania, says the program has resulted in a consistent national approach to biodiversity mapping.
“The program compiled existing biological survey datasets, mapped 1868 square kilometres of seabed with multibeam sonar, recorded 171 km of underwater video, and collected nearly 1000 samples of seabed sediments and marine life,” Professor Bax said.
The program has identified 37 factors which influence life in the marine shelf area, such as depth, availability of food and the strength of currents and waves.
It also completed finer scale mapping of previously unknown areas of the seabed in four important areas around Australia: Jervis Bay, Lord Howe Island, Southern-eastern Tasmania and Carnarvon Shelf.
The Marine Biodiversity Research Hub brought together the University of Tasmania, CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Museum Victoria under the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities program. The CERF program is administered by SEWPaC.
The final report of the CEF Marine Biodiversity Hub is available at: www.marinehub.org