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Geomorphometric maps of Australia’s Marine Park estate and their role in improving the integrated monitoring and management of marine ecosystems

journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-13, 22:27 authored by V Lucieer, E Flukes, J Monk, P Walsh
The loss of marine biodiversity is a major global issue that needs to be prioritised. In Australia, a considerable proportion (48%) of its Exclusive Economic Zone is dedicated to marine protected areas. To effectively manage this network of marine protected areas Australia has recently introduced a Management Effectiveness system. This system is designed to identify, monitor, and manage natural values and the various activities and pressures affecting the Australian Marine Parks (AMPs). Key to this approach is the identification and accurate mapping of the location of these values and pressures acting on the seabed. The AusSeabed program is a national initiative in Australia aimed at improving access to bathymetric data and coordinating efforts to collect such data in Australian waters. This manuscript proposes a novel systematic processing method to create detailed and scalable geomorphometric maps from AusSeabed’s bathymetric data holdings, intended as a standard operating procedure for initial bathymetric data interpretation in the AMPs. Utilising this workflow, we produce seafloor geomorphometry maps across 37 AMPs within which sufficient bathymetric data has been collected. These maps can be used 1) for predictive mapping of biological assemblages; 2) in field sampling design for the collection of ‘ground truthing’ data (e.g. underwater imagery and sediment samples) to validate habitat maps from bathymetric datasets; and 3) as input datasets for subsequent geomorphological mapping with a deeper understanding of seafloor processes. This research highlights the importance of robust geomorphometry classification standards to ensure consistency in mapping Australia’s marine estate in preparation for the Decade of Oceans plans. The Seamap Australia program provides a stepwise approach to advancing Australia’s national collection of bathymetric data into derived products that can enable habitat mapping of Australian waters, providing a foundational tool for the adaptive management of AMPs.

History

Journal

Frontiers in Marine Science

Volume

10

Pagination

1-11

Location

Lausanne, Switzerland

ISSN

2296-7745

eISSN

2296-7745

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

Frontiers

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