Authors: Lucieer, V., Beaman, R., Woehler, E., Horowitz, J., Nau, A., Vandenbossche, P.
Publication: Post survey report for the Coral Sea Australian Marine Park. Milestone Report #12. Report to the National Environmental Science Program, Marine Biodiversity Hub, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, pp. 68.
This post survey report details the data collected within the Coral Sea Australian Marine Park onboard the RV Investigator (IN2019_V04) between the 7th of August and the 3rd of September 2019 associated with the primary voyage Hotspot dynamics in the Coral Sea- connections between the Australian plate and deep Earth’ (Whittaker 2020). The data and preliminary results in this report pertain to ongoing research to examine spatial patterns in deep-water seafloor biodiversity, in particular, how organisms are related to geomorphic features within the Coral Sea Australian Marine Park (AMP). The seafloor biodiversity and associated geomorphic habitats in this AMP are poorly understood, and given the recent release of the AMP rezoning, it is particularly important to understand the spatial variability of seafloor biodiversity and associated habitats to better quantify the biological assets within the AMP.
Voyage IN2019_V04 has contributed an additional 29,000 kms2 of seafloor survey data to this knowledge base. This new bathymetric data has been assimilated into the 2010 bathymetric grid (Beaman 2010) to create a new 100 m grid resolution bathymetric data product. Ongoing research with this survey data will provide new insights into the detailed geomorphic shape and spatial relationships between adjacent seabed features. This information will be released in future publications to show the potential of how the scale of such seafloor data can be used for predictive habitat modelling when analysed with the biological data overlays.
The new biological data overlays will be created from the 94 specimens recorded from 30 rock dredges sampled within the Coral Sea Australian Marine Park. Biota that was collected in the sediment bins on the rock dredge, or biota that was maintained in the rock dredge was collected, recorded and preserved. This report provides an overview of these samples and classifies each into specimen groups based on the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS 2019). Specimens have been deposited in the Queensland Museum and over the next few years will be examined by experts across the various taxonomic fields.
Future research outcomes and interpretations of the survey data reported here will greatly improve our knowledge of the environmental assets within the Coral Sea Australian Marine Park, an area that is identified by Parks Australia as a priority for environmental asset inventories, baseline environmental data and monitoring.