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Project details

Title: Spatial and temporal variability in the distribution and abundance of seabirds and marine mammals
Id: 2467
Project Code: MNF-001
Investigator(s): Eric Woehler
Birdlife Tasmania [details]

Description: Scientific and voyage objectives: Collect data to describe the variability in the distribution and abundance of seabirds and animals in the oceans around Australia.
Years: 2015




Use [details] link to view survey details (map, reports, metadata etc) including links to download data.

List of surveys that this project was on. Click on column header to sort.

Use [details] link to view survey details (map, reports, metadata etc) including links to download data.

Survey InvestigatorDescription

Alain Protat (BOM) The voyage objectives are to collect Investigator C-band Doppler dual-polarization weather radar (SEAPOL), Ocean RAIN, ODM470 disdrometer, and micro rain radar (MRR-2) observations of precipitation collocated with as many radars from the BoM operational radar network located along the coast from Darwin to Fremantle.

Rob Beaman (JCU) RV Investigator research voyage in2019_t02, titled “Deep seascapes of the Great Barrier Reef: Uncovering submarine canyons and landslides.”

Joanne Whittaker (UTAS) In a handful of locations on Earth, hot material rises from deep within the Earth to create lines of volcanoes such as the Hawaiian-Emperor Seamount Chain. We aim to test if the Tasmantid and Lord Howe Seamount chains, hidden in the seas off eastern Australia, should be included in this rare group and if the Louisiade Plateau to the north could have formed from the massive flood of basaltic lava triggered when a rising plume reaches the surface.

Emily Jateff (Australian National Maritime Museum) RV Investigator research voyage IN2019_V07, titled “RAN Hydrographic and Maritime Heritage Surveys." Voyage objectives: 1) Australian Hydrographic Office Survey of Bass Strait - Completion of mapping of Sub Area A within Bass Strait (outstanding from IN2018_C01): ~24 hours using EM710. 2) Historic Shipwreck Surveys - Conduct surveys of the purported site of SS Federal and opportunistic survey of three unidentified targets. - Multibeam survey of SS Queensland, which doubles as a multibeam calibration target. 3) Training and Equipment Trialling - CTD casts including hydrochemistry analysis. Test altimeter operation during very shallow (~80m) CTD cast (conduct in area with existing bathymetry data). - Triaxus tows. - Operation of ADCPs. - Drop camera deployment (potentially at located shipwreck sites). - Multibeam patch test calibrations: one in shallow water and one in deep water; approximately 6 hours required for each. - Multibeam backscatter calibration lines: conduct during transit into and out of Storm Bay. - Deployment of RapidCAST SVP and development of associated Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for its use: can occur while underway (at a slightly reduced speed). - Trialling of new Seaspy magnetometer prior to IN2019_V04: each deployment will occur by hand during daylight hours, take approximately 30-45 mins and can occur while underway (at a slightly reduced speed). - Trialling of the new Brenke sled system. - Training of new personnel in the deployment of other equipment, including the multicorer and possibly, the Smith Mac grab. - CTD casts including hydrochemistry analysis. At least 3-5 shallow CTDs and 3-5 CTDs conducted at depths of >3000 m, with a maximum of 2 CTDs per 24 hours. - Training of new personnel in the Voyage Manager role and general vessel operations. 4) Seabird and Marine Mammal Observations Seabird at sea data will be collected according to the method described by the BIOMASS Working Party on Bird Ecology. This method has been used by Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) personnel since 1980/81 and reflects the standard protocol for obtaining seabird at sea data. Observations will be made continuously while the vessel is underway during daylight hours from the specifically designed Observation Deck on board Investigator. Observations of marine mammals are also included (in the absence of dedicated marine mammal observers) using standard protocols. Observation of marine debris are also recorded.

Alan Williams Status and recovery of deep-sea coral communities on seamounts in iconic Australian marine reserves (Chief Scientist: Dr Alan Williams, CSIRO) Australia has protected spectacular deep-sea coral reefs living on undersea mountains (‘seamounts’) by including some in marine reserves off Tasmania. This protection is an important step in marine conservation because deep-sea coral reefs support highly diverse communities of seafloor organisms, but are fragile and vulnerable to human disturbance – particularly by bottom trawling. Scientists on RV Investigator will conduct camera surveys to map the extent of the globally-significant deep-sea coral reefs, and determine how much of the reef area lies within reserves. Scientists will also measure how the reefs have recovered from earlier trawling impacts since being protected in marine reserves.

Michael Ellwood (ANU) “RV Investigator research voyage in2016_v04, titled “Constraining external iron inputs and cycling in the southern extension of the East Australian Current.” The primary objective of the voyage is to characterise the sources and biogeochemical cycling of iron and associated nutrients and their impact on productivity southwest, southeast and northeast of Tasmania. This will require various deployments at a number of process and transit stations. Mesoscale and sub-mesoscale physics and biogeochemistry TRIAXUS: This will provide high-resolution real-time data acquisition on upper ocean (1-200 m) physics (mixed layer depth) and biology (chlorophyll fluorescence, transmissivity). We will survey each process station by conducting a transect across each station, ‘figure-eight’ type survey if possible for 10-12 hours, and tow the Triaxus between process stations 1, 2 and 3. These datasets will be complemented by those from underway sampling (including nutrient concentrations, biooptics, Fast Repetition Rate Fluorometry (FRRF, a measure of phytoplankton ‘health’), trace metal concentrations using a trace-metal clean tow-fish to sample at 5 m. SADCP/LADCP: Continuous measurements of velocity will be collected along the ships track using the 75 kHz and 150 kHz shipboard ADCPs. A lowered ADCP (LADCP) will collect horizontal velocity measurements at each station from the CTD package. Process and transit station deployments determine iron supply and cycling CTD rosette: Profiles of temperature, salinity, and oxygen through the upper ocean at transit stations and full ocean depth at process stations. Water samples collected with the 36-bottle rosette will be analysed on board for salinity, oxygen, nutrients. LADCP data will also be collected from the CTD deployments. TMR and ISP deployments: An autonomous 12 bottle trace metal-clean rosette (TMR) system and 6 in situ pumps (ISPs) will be used to collect trace element and isotope samples in dissolved and particulate phases. Clean sampling and analytical container laboratories will allow for shipboard processing, experiments and some near real-time analyses of iron at sea. The majority of the analyses will take place ashore after the voyage using sophisticated instrumentation not suited for shipboard use. In situ primary production: Primary production experiments will be conducted at each process station. The experiments will require radiolabeling samples with 55Fe and 14C in the Radiation van and then incubated in the deck-board incubators. Incubations: Some incubations may be conducted at each process station. The experiments will require the changes in light, nutrient and or trace metal conditions. Samples will then be incubated in the deck-board incubators or the ones in the dry lab. Multicorer deployment: Surface sediment cores (0 to 30 cm) will be collected on and off the Tasmanian shelf and at the three process stations. Cores will be evaluated for integrity upon recovery, sectioned inside a nitrogen-filled glove bag, and centrifuged to extract pore fluid for trace metal and rare-earth analysis. Kasten gravity corer: Longer sediment cores (0 to 4 m) will be collected at the three process stations. Cores will be evaluated for integrity upon recovery and subsampled for shore-based analyse. These will complement multicorer deployments. We hope to obtain one core at each of the process stations. Core barrels will 4 m in length.

LCDR Nigel Townsend (RAN) RV Investigator research voyage in2018_c01, titled “RAN Hydrographic Survey.” Voyage objectives: To facilitate safe navigation for international and coastal shipping. This survey will also improve confidence for subsurface navigation in Bass Strait. The overall focus for this survey is to conduct a modern survey in the primary shipping route through Bass Strait. The MET and OC observations and data collection have three purposes, namely: a) To collect data from which a sonar or radar range prediction can be calculated (humidity, pressure, temperature, wind speed, ocean temperature and salinity profile, currents through depth, sediment type, sub-bottom classification (where possible); - Sub-bottom classification will incorporate sediment samples taken using the MNF Smith-McIntyre Grab. Samples will be kept and stored with Geoscience Australia (GA). b) To identify what observations can be conducted concurrently, and what observations have limiting factors that preclude concurrent operations/survey activity; c) To develop understanding of what types, accuracy and formats of data can be collected and how this might be of use to the scientific community and Defence. A full GSM Survey Procedure pertaining to the hydrographic surveying elements of the primary voyage are included in appendix 1 – GSM Hydrographic Survey Procedure.

Gustaaf Hallegraeff (UTAS/IMAS) Harmful Algal Blooms And Their Long-Term Sediment Record In East Coast Tasmanian Waters (Chief Scientist: Gustaaf Hallegraeff, IMAS/UTAS) Unprecedented toxic dinoflagellate blooms occurred off east coast Tasmania in 2012 and 2015/2016. These events led to a global shellfish product recall (AUD23M loss), lengthy (4 months) closures of mussel, oyster, scallop, and rock lobster fisheries, and 4 human hospitalisations (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning). While the causative Alexandrium dinoflagellate had been previously detected, genetic evidence suggests that blooms represent a cryptic genotype newly stimulated by climate-driven increased water column stratification. We seek to characterize blooms from with the long time (1000+ yr) ancient DNA sediment record using novel genetic methods.

Andrew Bowie (UTAS) The application will support research to quantify the importance of iron-rich aerosols from Australia for marine biogeochemistry and ocean ecosystem health. The project will sample and conduct experiments on atmospheric particles containing terrestrial dust and bushfire smoke that are transported from Australia to its surrounding oceans. The application supports the training and research of two postgraduate students from IMAS-UTAS. The outcomes will provide a scientific basis for managing the complex role of iron in sustaining marine ecosystem biodiversity and for informing government policy on ocean fertilisation as a carbon mitigation strategy.

Thomas W Trull (CSIRO/ACE CRC) Eric Schulz (BOM) The Southern Ocean Time Series provides world-leading automated observations from deep-ocean moorings of the exchanges of heat, water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen between the ocean and atmosphere, and the physical and biological processes that control them. These results contribute to forward projections of anthropogenic climate warming, inform the setting of emissions targets, illuminate controls on climate variability, and provide a baseline for impacts on ocean pelagic ecology. Sensor data is returned live to the internet and samples are returned annually for further study in shore laboratories. The primary objective is to first deploy a new set of SOTS moorings (SAZ-19 and SOFS-6) and then recover the existing SOTS moorings (FluxPulse-1 lower section, and SAZ-18). Additional work will obtain ancillary information on atmospheric and oceanographic conditions using CTD casts, underway measurements, the Triaxus towed body, and autonomous profiling "Bio-Argo" floats. Each of the SOTS moorings delivers to specific aspects of the atmosphere-ocean exchanges, with some redundancy: * the SAZ sediment trap mooring collects samples to quantify the transfer of carbon and other nutrients to the ocean interior by sinking particles, and investigate their ecological controls. * the Southern Ocean Flux Station (SOFS) measures meteorological properties and ocean properties important to air-sea exchanges, ocean stratification, waves, and currents. * the (now superceded) Pulse biogeochemistry mooring focused on processes important to biological CO2 consumption, including net community production from oxygen measurements and nitrate depletion, biomass concentrations from bio-optics and bio-acoustics, and collection of water samples for nutrient and plankton quantification. * the FluxPulse mooring combines some elements of Pulse onto the SOFS platform to create a combined mooring, and was deployed for the first time in 2016, but broke into two sections. The top section has been recovered. The bottom section remains to be recovered. This combined mooring was intended to meet financial constraints. In 2017 we will use the simpler SOFS design, while redesigning FluxPulse for relaunch in 2018. Piggyback projects: * International Nutrient Intercalibration Exercise * Spatial and Temporal Variability in the Distribution and Abundance of Seabirds * Trace Element Cycling * Acoustic estimates of zooplankton and fish distributions

Bernadette Sloyan, Remo Cossu, Eric Woehler and Nicholas Carlile RV Investigator research voyage in2016_v06, titled "Sustained monitoring of the EAC: mass, heat and freshwater transports." This voyage will recover and re-deploy an array of six full-depth current meter and property (temperature, salinity and pressure) moorings from the continental slope to the abyssal waters off Brisbane (27o S). The observing system is designed to capture the mean and time-varying flow of the EAC. In order to resolve interannual and decadal signals we aim to maintain a multi-year deployment of the array. The following specific objectives will be performed: 1. Recover and deploy moorings at appropriate locations. 2. Complete CTD/rosette stations at each mooring location, with LADCP. 3. Complete a number of Ship ADCP sections along the mooring line. Supplementary projects: 1) Turbulence scales and horizontal variability in the surface layer of the Ocean. Objectives: To gain more insight into turbulence scales in the upper ocean (0 - 200 m depth) across the continental shelf using a TuboMAP turbulence probe and to measure horizontal variability of CTD data in the upper ocean using a Seabird 19+ CTD unit. The TurboMAP can record data with vertical profiling (upcast and downcast). Based on a temperature gradient and mean falling speed of the probe the levels of turbulence dissipation and mixing properties can be derived. The CTD (Seabird 19+) unit will collect data at a fixed depth (ca. 20 m) while the ship is drifting at a speed of 0.5 - 1 m/s. 2) Spatial and temporal variability in the distribution and abundance of seabirds. Objectives: The project seeks to quantify the distribution and abundance of seabirds at sea using standardised seabird survey protocols. One or two dedicated observers will collect real-time data on seabirds observed within 300m transect during daylight hours while the vessel is underway. Incidental observations will be collected while the vessel is stationary (eg CTD stations) or while the vessel is deploying moorings. The data collected will be compatible with previous seabird at sea surveys conducted around Australia and farther south, allowing for analyses and assessments to be extended by the current surveys. The distribution of seabirds at sea is strongly linked with oceanographic features such as convergences that concentrate prey at densities that allow for efficient foraging by seabirds. Our surveys on the voyage will link with oceanographic investigations to identify the types and strengths of oceanographic features at which we observe different species of seabirds that utilise different methods of feeding (surface seizing, diving etc). No dedicated ship time is required for the seabird surveys. Surveys are conducted by observers while the vessel is underway during daylight hours.

A. Bowie (ACE CRC UTAS) Voyage objectives The main objective of this transit voyage is to move the vessel from Hobart to Sydney prior to IN2016_V04. The objectives listed below are complementary with the transit. 1. Natural iron fertilisation of the oceans around Australia: linking terrestrial dust and bushfires to marine biogeochemistry Oceans play a vital role in Earth's climate through the control of atmospheric CO2. An important component of this system is the iron cycle, in which iron-rich aerosols are transported from land via atmosphere to ocean. Iron is a key micronutrient for marine phytoplankton, the scarcity of which controls essential biogeochemical processes. This project will facilitate an integrated ship-based atmospheric observational program for trace elements in oceans around Australia. During the voyages, we will sample and conduct experiments on atmospheric particles containing terrestrial dust, bushfire smoke and anthropogenic emissions that are transported from Australia to its surrounding oceans. This will provide the critical information on atmospheric iron supply for ocean fertility and health, providing the science for predicting a key factor in the future impact of the oceans on climate. The project supports the training and research of two postgraduate PhD students from IMAS-UTAS. 2. We will also opportunistically collect event-based clean rainwater samples using either a polyethylene funnel and collection bottle (when conditions allow) or a Dual Chimney Precipitation Sampler (N-Con Systems model 00-127; currently on order), to quantify the trace metal deposition in the 'bulk' and 'precipitate-only' fractions. Ideally samples would be collected on upper and forward decks, either above the bridge or at the bow when heading into the wind.
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