Dataset: Coral surveys of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory


Coral communities were surveyed at 15 sites across northern Arnhem Land in 2003. \n \nAssessments were made using the following methods: \n1. making collections and records using SCUBA \n2. underwater still photography \n3. video photography \n \nOnly corals requiring taxonomic study were collected. Corals were labelled, cleaned in chlorine bleach, and studied aboard ship. Specimens of continuing interest were sent to the Australian Institute of Marine Science. These specimens were intended to indicate what further study is required; they were not adequate for comprehensive species descriptions. \n \nWhere opportunity permitted, a list of species for each site was compiled by scuba diving. This work was restricted as follows: \n1. coral collecting was not undertaken at some sites in accordance with the wishes of local aboriginal communities \n2. scuba diving was not undertaken at some sites due to the proximity of crocodiles \n \nSite descriptions included observations relating to substrate type, turbidity, exposure to wave action, coral cover (%), bleaching, crown-of-thorns starfish, coral disease and general condition of the site.\n The objectives of this survey were: \n1. to prepare site descriptions including estimates of coral cover and indications of general benthos diversity \n2. to prepare a table of species by site for corals for all sites studied \n3. to provide a description of site conditions, including indication of damage by human or natural events, disease and/or predation \n4. to provide a general interpretation of data collected and to place Arnhem Land corals into context with coral distributions elsewhere in Australia\n This research was supported by the National Oceans Office.\n

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