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

Friday, September 21, 2012 - 5:03pm

Digital elevation model for part of Grid 1, showing the shallower shoal feature The multibeam data is digital enabling complex visualisation and analysis by computer.

Image credit - Kim Picard, Geoscience Australia

Friday, September 21, 2012 - 5:00pm

Targeted towed camera surveys reveal the habitats. In this example, the shallower shoal plateau area in Grid 1 is seen to support mushroom corals, various plants and coarse calcareous rubble.

Friday, September 21, 2012 - 4:41pm

Scientist working on the ship prepare data as it is collected.

Image credit - Jamie Colquhoun, AIMS

Friday, September 21, 2012 - 4:15pm

Image 1 - Pre-cruise planning location map showing proposed Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve and three sample grids for this survey.  See yellow polygons in centre of image.  Grid 1 (top) to Grid 3 (bottom).

Image 2 - Bounding co-ordinates for the 3 survey grids.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 12:59pm

CTD measures ocean Conductivity, Temperature and Depth and is designed for vertical profiling of the water column for depths down to 2,000 metres.  The RV Solander has been fitted out with a new Livewire CTD and dedicated winch - Read the story

Image: The black line shows percentage surface light and at this point in time it is pretty much zero by 60 m, says Lead Scientist Dr Andrew Heyward.


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