Gascoyne Marine Park Post-survey report, RV Falkor, FK200308
In early 2020, a team aboard the RV Falkor explored two deep-sea canyons within the Gascoyne Marine Park. More than 30 new species were discovered, 2570 seafloor images were annotated, and 11,250 km2 were mapped. This survey confirmed that canyons within Gascoyne Marine Park are ecologically important systems, supporting numerous deep-sea species, many of which were discovered to be new to science. The advanced capabilities of the ROV SuBastian to navigate and image complex (near vertical) walls and overhangs within the canyons revealed patterns in the distribution of the seafloor taxa consistent with small-scale environmental variability. Repeat multibeam mapping revealed a dynamic canyon system that continues to be shaped by turbidity currents. The occurrence of reworked seagrass blades within the canyons provided a new understanding of these canyon systems as an active conduit between shallow shelf and abyssal environments. The distribution of the seabed biota revealed through quantitative ROV transects emphasised the importance of disturbance patterns in shaping the canyon ecosystems.