Surveying an Australian marine frontier

The RV Solander, with 11 scientists on board,undertook a 25 day survey of biodiversity in open waters off north-western Australia. The ship left Broome on 12 September 2012 returned on 6 October.

The survey was undertaken by the Marine Biodiversity Hub to support the Australian Government’s marine bioregional plans and is supported through funding from the National Environmental Research Program (NERP).

This survey of offshore waters in the north-west, including the proposed Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR), is a research collaboration between the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Geoscience Australia (GA), University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MGNT). The survey forms the main activity for Theme 4 of the NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub – Regional Biodiversity Discovery to Support Marine Bioregional Plans. Data from this survey will be used to support the research goals of the other three themes in the Marine Biodiversity Hub and to support the work programs of the Department of the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC).

The information gathered in this survey will be used to fill gaps in biodiversity knowledge and patterns of community assembly, associated physical drivers of marine biodiversity and provide a regional context to these patterns and processes.

See the 3 survey grids of the voyage

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 11:11am

Orca surfing the RV Solander wake.  There is a diverse fish community in the Oceanic Shoals area, and the NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub cruise will be assessing the fish life as well as the sessile life on the seabed.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 10:34am

Marine habitats in Northern Australia host globally significant levels of biodiversity.  This biodiversity faces rapidly increasing pressures from human activities, while extensive regional-scale knowledge gaps threaten to compromise efforts to conserve and manage it. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 10:19am

Sequence for collecting data - cruise planning to swath mapping then towed camera:

Figure 1: Pre-cruise planning location map showing proposed Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve and three sample grids for this survey.

Friday, September 21, 2012 - 5:22pm

On top of the shoal in Grid 2 at around 60m
Image 1 - Ianthella sponges (shaped like elephant ears, cream in colour) and sea fan (orange)
Image 2 - Filter feeders

Image credits:  Jamie Colquhoun and Marcus Stowar, AIMS

Friday, September 21, 2012 - 5:15pm

Belinda Glasby (NT Museum) and Mike Walker with sled catch at the sorting table.

Image credits:  Marcus Stowar, AIMS



Last modified: 
Monday, May 25, 2015 - 4:04pm