Mapping and characterising reef habitat and fish assemblages of the Hunter Marine Park
This is a technical report for the Hunter Marine Park surveys as part of the NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub D3 project. The report summarises five years worth of multibeam echo sounder, towed video, stereo-baited remote underwater video and remotely operated vehicle surveys to provide Parks Australia with baseline information for the Hunter Marine Park. The Hunter Marine Park is located of the mid-NSW coast and continental shelf rocky reef was identified as a key ecological feature of the Park. The MBES surveys mapped 30% of the continental shelf component of the Marine Park and identified approximately 5.5km2 of rocky reef. Towed video surveys found these reefs to covered in a diverse range of sessile invertebrate assemblages. The stereo-BRUV surveys focused on three distinct regions across a depth range of 35-120 m. Up to 112 species of fish were identified, including three threatened and protected species. Each of the three locations were deemed to support a unique species assemblages. However, the patterns in distribution where highly species specific and often related to reef structure and season. These are the first mapping and biological surveys of the Hunter Marine Park region.
Scientists have collected the first fine-scale maps and imagery of reefs and submarine canyons in the rarely visited Arafura Marine Park, revealing seafloor environments with surprisingly diverse coral and fish communities.
First national-scale snapshot of how marine researchers engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Australian marine scientists demonstrate positive aspirations to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in research. Many scientists are unsure about where the responsibility for engagement lies, however, and what research is of interest to Indigenous communities.
These are key findings of a Marine Biodiversity Hub study that surveyed 128 marine scientists to understand how they had engaged with Indigenous communities during their research careers. The survey has established a baseline for monitoring future changes in the scientists’ motivations, perceptions and practices.
The study team included Hub deputy director, Paul Hedge, and scientists Ingrid van Putten, Cass Hunter, and Mibu Fischer of CSIRO.
Conservation of handfish and their habitats – Annual Report 2019
We have completed and analysed performance assessment surveys at nine local population sites for spotted handfish in the Derwent estuary from 2015-2019. To this time series we have also incorporated historic data for individual sites back to 1998. Local populations generally show stability of occurrence but with some difference in abundance (as measured by estimates of fish densities per habitat) by years.
Deep ocean divers acting as citizen scientists have taken the first close-up look at stunning marine life on a deep granite reef in the Freycinet Commonwealth Marine Reserve off Bicheno, eastern Tasmania.