Field manuals for marine sampling to monitor Australian waters

Przeslawski, Rachel and Foster, Scott 2018, Field manuals for marine sampling to monitor Australian waters, National Environmental Science Programme, Marine Biodiversity Hub, Canberra, A.C.T., doi: 10.11636/9781925297669.

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Title Field manuals for marine sampling to monitor Australian waters
Author(s) Przeslawski, Rachel
Foster, Scott
Contributor(s) Monk, JacquomoORCID iD for Monk, Jacquomo
Publication date 2018
Total pages 215 p.
Publisher National Environmental Science Programme, Marine Biodiversity Hub
Place of publication Canberra, A.C.T.
Summary Australia has one of the world’s largest marine estates and has recently established the largest network of marine protected areas in the world. As such, Australia is now uniquely placed to develop standardised national approaches to monitor the marine environment. We have therefore developed a suite of field manuals for the acquisition of marine data from a variety of frequently-used sampling platforms so that data is directly comparable in time and through space. This will then facilitate a national monitoring program in Australian waters, with a particular focus on Australian Marine Parks (AMPs).Due to the large geographic area, diverse flora and fauna, and range of environmental conditions represented by the Australian marine estate, a single method of sampling is neither practical nor desirable. For this reason, we present a standard operating procedure (SOP) for each of six key marine benthic (i.e. seafloor) sampling platforms that were identified based on their frequency of use in previous sampling and monitoring programs:• Multibeam sonar (MBES) provides bathymetry and backscatter data that are used to map the seafloor.• Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) acquire high-resolution continuous imagery of the seafloor and its associated habitats and organisms.• Benthic Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) systems acquire video of demersal fish attracted to a baited camera system dropped to the seafloor.• Pelagic BRUVs acquire video of pelagic fish and other fauna that are attracted to a baited camera system suspended in the water column. This platform is included as an emergent sampling method for pelagic ecosystems.• Towed cameras acquire video or still imagery of the seafloor and its associated habitats and organisms.• Grabs and box corers collect sediment samples that can be analysed for biological, geochemical, or sedimentological variables.• Sleds and trawls collect benthic or demersal fauna near the seafloor.The main challenge in the development of these manuals was to find a balance between being overly prescriptive (such that everyone follows their existing protocols and ignores the manuals) and overly flexible (such that data is not consistent and therefore not comparable). A collaborative approach was paramount to addressing this concern. Ultimately, over 60 individuals from 28 organisations contributed to the field manual package. By engaging researchers, managers, and technicians from multiple agencies with a variety of experience, sea time, and subject matter expertise, we strove to ensure the field manuals represented the broader marine science community of Australia. This not only improved the content but also increased the potential for adoption across multiple agencies and monitoring programs.Future work is based on the understanding that SOPs should be periodically checked and revised, lest they become superseded or obsolete. Resources are available to develop a Version 2 of this field manual package, due for completion in late 2018. As part of this version, a long-term plan for managing the field manuals will be developed, including maintenance and version control.
Language eng
DOI 10.11636/9781925297669
Indigenous content off
HERDC Research category A6.1 Research report/technical paper
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