This record describes the collections of benthic biota (and their derived data) from one Marine National Facility charter voyage conducted under Project 4 - Benthic biota of volcanic seamounts, seeps and canyons of the GAB - of the Great Australian Bight Deepwater Marine Program (GABDMP): IN2015_C01. A key objective for which is to characterise the composition, abundance and distributions of benthic fauna (seabed animals) associated with volcanic seamounts, canyon and seep zone habitats in in ~1000-5000 m depth, within and adjacent to the Chevron lease areas in the GAB.
Benthic biota samples were taken at 6 potential seep, 5 volcanic seamount, and 3 deep outcropping rock sites. Epibenthic biota were collected using the beam trawl, epibenthic sled and rock dredge; macro-infauna were extracted by elutriation of sediment collections taken using the ICP and the Smith-MacIntyre grab. The invertebrate specimens were identified to operational taxonomic units (OTU) and photographed on board and shipped to Museum Victoria, from where selected taxa were distributed to taxonomic experts for identification. Macro-infauna samples were sorted to OTU in the lab and specimens treated the same as epifauna for further identification. Specimens were distributed to various Museum collections (including SAMA, NMV, AMS) for registration and curation. All fishes were identified to OTU on board and shipped to the Australian national Fish Collection (ANFC) where they were registered and databased. A series of workshops were held bringing together fish expert taxonomists to identify the collection and distribute representative sub-collections to various museums.
Taxa targeted for detailed taxonomic identification are: sponges, anemones, octocorals, polychaetes, molluscs, echinoderms, crustacea (select groups), pycnogonids and fishes.