Data Trawler - Project details

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Project details

Title: Biodiversity assessment of Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories
Id: 2574
Investigator(s): Tim O'Hara
Museum Victoria [details]

Years: 2021


Scientific Highlight

Voyage Summary


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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

Tim O'Hara Voyage objectives: 1. Complete the Multibeam mapping of shallow water features prior to biological sampling. 2. Conduct biological sampling on 8 seamount clusters, around the flanks of the Cocos (Keeling) islands and at three sites on the abyssal plain, using 4m beam trawls and a heavy dredge (Sherman). In the event of bad weather some seamounts in the Raitt Ridge and S Cocos clusters will be abandoned. 3. Conduct video transects of up to four selected (20-2000 m) shallow water seafloor features. 4. Compile CTD/ADCP/echosounder data from selected seamount locations 5. Collect water samples for eDNA analyses from the CTD casts. 6. Collect plankton net samples from shallow water environments and zooplankton aggregations. 7. Transit along unmapped tracks to maximise Multibeam coverage of the area. 8. Communicate with the local island communities through live video links with schools and community centres on the islands. 9. Engage with Australian schools from the vessel through facilities set up by the BushBlitz program. 10. Communicate with Australian and International public and media through blogs, media releases and interviews from the vessel. .

Tim O'Hara (Museum Victoria) Scientific objectives 1. Characterise benthic biodiversity from seamounts (100-3500 m) across the EEZ in Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) for the first time. 2. To provide specimens and tissues samples to taxonomists for species identification and descriptions. 3. Test whether the proposed bioregionalisation for the territories (Brewer et al 2009, derived from environmental data) is an adequate surrogate for patterns of seafloor diversity across a series of depth strata. 4. Assess the conservation significance of these seamount communities, particularly the presence of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) including cold water coral and sponge communities. 5. Document spatial and bathymetric patterns of oceanographic characteristics and plankton distribution. 6. Substantially contribute to the AusSeabed project by maximising new Multibeam coverage. 7. Understand the biogeographical relationships of the fauna through community and evolutionary (DNA) comparisons with other Australian, west Pacific and Indian Ocean faunas.
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