The Australian Coastal Restoration Network (ACRN) restoration projects database compiles data from numerous coastal and marine restoration projects located in Australia and New Zealand. As a first version, the data was obtained from publicly available data sources and publications, and from organisations that are conducting restoration projects on corals, mangroves, saltmarsh, seagrass, kelp and shellfish reefs. The ACRN Database is an evolving tool that will be periodically updated with new projects and outputs as they are submitted. Version 1 of the database represents the final deliverable for the NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project E5 'The role of restoration in conserving matters of national environmental significance'.
The lower bathyal and abyssal seafloor fauna of eastern Australia
Background: Our knowledge of the benthic fauna at lower bathyal to abyssal (LBA, > 2000 m) depths off Eastern Australia was very limited with only a few samples having been collected from these habitats over the last 150 years. In May–June 2017, the IN2017_V03 expedition of the RV Investigator sampled LBA benthic communities along the lower slope and abyss of Australia’s eastern margin from off mid-Tasmania (42°S) to the Coral Sea (23°S), with particular emphasis on describing and analysing patterns of biodiversity that occur within a newly declared network of offshore marine parks. Methods: The study design was to deploy a 4m (metal) beam trawl and Brenke sled to collect samples on soft sediment substrata at the target seafloor depths of 2500 and 4000m at every 1.5 degrees of latitude along the western boundary of the Tasman Sea from 42° to 23°S, traversing seven Australian Marine Parks. Results: The biological sampling included 35 beam trawls, 28 Brenke sleds, 8 box cores, 20 surface meso-zooplankton tows, and 7 Deep Towed Camera transects. In total, 25,710 specimens were identified to 1084 taxonomic entities, including 847 species-level, 144 genus-level and 69 family-level and 24 higher-level taxa. Of the species-level taxa, only 457 were assigned species-level taxonomic names, which implies that up to 58% of the collected fauna is undescribed. In addition, the ranges of numerous species have been extended to include the western Tasman Sea. Conclusions: The lower bathyal and abyssal fauna of soft sediment seafloors off eastern Australia has been systematically surveyed for the first time. The resultant collections will provide the foundation for much future ecological, biogeographical, phylogenetic and taxonomic research.
Primary microplastics in the marine environment: scale of the issue, sources, pathways and current policy
This paper analyses research on microplastic pollution, specifically focussingon intentionally added microplastics. Intentionally added microplastics are found in industrial and domestic cleaning products, medicines, synthetic clothing, personal care and cosmetic products (PCCPs), construction materials and car tyres. Studies have reported that over 50,000 microplastic particles can be found in one gram of PCCPs product and as many as 17,700,000 fibres can be released during single 5kg washing. This paper reviews the policies that address microplastic pollution in the European Union (EU), the United States (USA) and Australia. The EU is a leader in the development of plastic pollution policies, and in particular, intentionally added microplastics and provides a useful framework for understanding how this issue can be addressed by a federation such as Australia.
Perceptions, motivations and practices for Indigenous engagement in marine science in Australia
Australian science has evolved to include a number of initiatives designed to promote and guide ethical and culturally appropriate Indigenous participation and engagement. While interest and overall engagement between Indigenous people and marine scientists appears to have grown in the last decade there are also signs that some researchers may not be setting out to engage with Indigenous Australians on the right foot. This research seeks to move beyond anecdotal evidence about engagement of marine researchers with Indigenous Australians by gathering empirical information from the scientists’ perspective. Our survey of 128 respondents showed that 63% (n = 79) of respondents have engaged with Indigenous communities in some way throughout their career, however, most marine research projects have not included Indigenous engagement and when it occurs it is often shorter than 3 years in duration. Responses indicated that the majority of marine scientists see mutual benefits from engagement, do not avoid it and believe it will become more important in the future. We identify a number of challenges and opportunities for marine research institutions, marine researchers and Indigenous communities if positive aspirations for engagement are to be converted to respectful, long-term and mutually beneficial engagement.