Progress towards a nationally integrated benthic biodiversity monitoring program for Australia’s marine realm

This report provides an overview of key Australian benthic biodiversity monitoring programs and datasets able to be utilised nationally to form the background to broader integrated programs for reporting on the State of the marine environment and similar end-user needs. It includes an overview of the associated databases, that together with the background programs, provide a suitable framework for establishing and supporting a nationally-integrated monitoring program. It will inform future decisions on how to best further develop the tools and programs. The report identified significant progress in benthic surveys in recent years, including development of appropriate, open-access databases. A key limitation for many programs is the lack of adequate support for access to cost-effective coastal research vessels with the capability of deploying scientific equipment or supporting remote operations. There is also a need for greater levels of integration between the agencies.

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