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Seamounts Research


Current Projects
  Survey Equipment


Census of Marine Life

CSIRO's Seamounts research is affiliated with the Census of marine life's seamounts program, CenSeam.


Science contributing to the management of Seamounts regions

Mapping surveys and biological collections reveal the characteristics of biodiversity and habitats to determine the unique values of the biodiveristy of seamounts.

Comparing seamount habitats and fauna in different areas shows how their biodiversity differs and guides management for their protection.

Genetic studies are determining whether seamounts are biologically connected and whether 'down-stream' seamounts rely on recruitment from those 'upstream' to maintain healthy animal populations.

Estimating the resistance and resilience of animals and habitats (eg, age, growth, size and fragility) determines their vulnerability to human activities.

Developing quantitative and non-destructive photographic sampling techniques enables changes through time to be measured. This is necessary to monitor recovery from human impacts and the possible effects of climate change.


South East Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Seamounts project


The importance of conserving Australia's seamount biodiversity

AnemoneSeamounts are oases on the massive and predominately muddy floor of the deep sea because they provide hard elevated and current-swept attachment sites for rich communities of 'emergent' filter-feeding animals such as corals, sponges, seastars and anemones.

Seamount communityOver long periods, stony corals build complex reefs covering large areas of rocky substratum that provide the base for the seamount community. Their structural forms provide habitat for a great diversity of smaller mobile animals including crustaceans, brittle stars, urchins and molluscs. Physical removal of this habitat will take years if not decades to reverse.

Non-destructive photographic surveys revealed that the distribution of stony coral on the Huon seamounts extends from seamount peaks down to about 1,400 m depth.

Hill U in Huon CMRAustralia's Department of the Environment and Water Resources (DEW) is protecting the unique and vulnerable seabed communities of a representative set of Australia's seamounts within a National representative System of Marine Protected Areas to be implemented over the next few years. Scientific research to increase knowledge of seamount ecosystems is included in their management plans.

Seamount Ecosystems