Australian Marine Environmental Data: Descriptions and Metadata

This report provides detailed descriptions (metadata) of 45 Australian marine environmental datasets that have been generated and collated by the Marine Biodiversity Hub as part of Theme 3 – National Ecosystems Knowledge, Project 1 – Shelf and Canyon Ecosystems Functions and Processes. The report also includes a map for each dataset to illustrate coverage and general spatial structure. The datasets contain both marine environmental and biological variables from diverse data sources and include both new and updated information. Among them, the national bathymetry grid and derived products, seabed sediment grids, seabed exposure (GEOMACS) parameters, water quality data, the national canyon dataset and connectivity layers were produced by Geoscience Australia. Other environmental and biological datasets are the outputs of oceanographic models and collections of various governmental and research organisations.

These datasets are important for the success of marine biodiversity research in Theme 3 Project 1 in that they describe key aspects of Australian marine physical, geochemical and biological environments. The physical and geochemical datasets not only characterise the static seabed features but also capture the temporal variation and three-dimensional interactions within marine ecosystems. The biological datasets represent a unique collection of fish and megafauna data available at the national scale. Together, these marine environmental datasets enhance our understanding of large-scale ecological processes driving marine biodiversity patterns. However, it should be noted that uncertainties and potential errors exist in these datasets due to limitations of data collection and processing methods. Data quality issues for individual datasets have been documented in this report where possible.

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