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Marine biodiversity surveys and habitat mapping

Diver surveys

Specially trained divers from DEW conduct underwater surveys using globally standardised methods for surveying reef habitats. Divers record the distribution and abundance of fish, invertebrate and algal communities inside and outside of sanctuary zones.

These diver surveys provide information on reef communities, which are expected to change inside the sanctuary zones. These changes may take many years to occur. Periodic surveys at priority zones are conducted to detect any changes over time.

The marine park reef surveys also support an on-going global collaboration between DEW and other research and conservation organisations involved in the monitoring of marine protected areas called Reef Life Survey.

Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS)

Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS) are used to sample fish communities across a broad range of depths and habitats. Cameras with bait in front of them are placed on the seafloor in numerous locations inside and outside sanctuary zones. The bait attracts fish in the vicinity and the camera records the ones that swim past the camera lens. This data provides information on fish abundance, diversity, and size, enabling the monitoring, evaluation and reporting program to track changes inside and outside of sanctuary zones.

BRUV surveys were first developed in Australia, and are now used around the world for marine monitoring and research. Check out how BRUVS are used in our marine parks.

Monitoring SA’s marine parks network using Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS

Swath mapping

Swath mapping technology enables us to undertake rapid assessments and collect detailed information of a wide strip, or swath, of the seafloor - ranging from 5 metres to more than 50 metres.

Mapping involves sending acoustic sonar beams to the seafloor from shipboard computers. We then analyse the reflected signals to generate images of the depth and shape of the ocean floor and determine the seafloor roughness and hardness.

Swath mapping survey outputs are detailed 3D models and this along with the hardness roughness information then enables us to classify areas into habitat types – such as sands, seagrass and reefs.

The information we collected in the above techniques will be used to assess whether the parks are changing in the way we expect.

More information

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