The Lord Howe Island survey SS06-2008 in April 2008 aboard the RV Southern Surveyor
was a collaboration between the University of Wollongong and Geoscience Australia.
The survey was also an activity of the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities’
(CERF) Marine Biodiversity Hub, of which Geoscience Australia is a partner, and will
contribute to the revised Plan of Management for the Lord Howe Marine Parks. The
objectives of the survey were to map the morphology and benthic environments of the
shallow shelf that surrounds Lord Howe Island as well as the deeper flanks of this largely
submarine volcano. Of particular interest was the apparent drowned reef structure on the
shelf and the spatial distribution of seabed habitats and infauna. The data collected are
required to better understand the history of reef growth at Lord Howe Island, which sits at
the southernmost limit of reef formation, and links between the physical environment and
ecological processes that control the spatial distribution of biodiversity on the shelf. The
morphology of the flanks of the submarine volcano was also examined to reveal whether
they provide evidence of major erosional and depositional processes acting on the
volcano. This report provides a description of the survey activities and the results of the
processing and initial analysis of the data and samples collected.