Dataset: Biodiversity Characterisation of Pilbara Marine Regions (Epibenthic Sled, Trawl, Towed Video and Sediment) 2013


Description

This dataset is an output of the Pilbara Marine Conservation Partnership (PMCP) Environmental Pressures Theme - Project Habitats and Biodiversity Characterisation and Mapping. The benthic invertebrate, plant and fish biodiversity of the west Pilbara region was sampled between 10 and 27 June 2013 during voyages on the CSIRO vessel RV Linnaeus and WA Fisheries vessel RV Naturaliste.

The equipment used was:
0.75m epibenthic sled at 13 sites for a distance of ~300m or a
1.5m epibenthic sled at 98 sites for a distance of ~150m per tow;
a Pipe dredge attached to each sled;
an 8 Fathom Florida Flyer Trawl at 43 sites for a distance of ~1km per tow;
and a Drop-Camera video system towed for a 500 m transect at 123 sites to observe and record video of the seabed habitat. Continuous underway coding during Drop-camera transects recorded cover of 9 substratum types, 25 biohabitat types, and occurrence of 14 faunal classes.

The results for the Sled and Trawl are presented as biomass per area swept by the gear (kg per ha).

During the Voyage Biota collected using the Sled and Trawl were sorted into 26 broad taxonomic categories from each tow (samples). These were photographed, weighed, preserved and retained for identification.
Large biota such as turtles and seasnakes were measured, counted, weighed (or weight estimated), photographed and returned to the ocean alive.
Non-living rocks/shells were photographed and weighed as a category called trash and returned to the ocean.

The following groups were retained and identified by taxonomists and voucher specimens curated at WA Museum:
Marine Plants;
Sponges;
Corals;
Crustaceans;
Echinoderms;
Molluscs;
and Fishes

The following groups were retained with no facility for further identification as part of this project, and are currently at CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere WA:
Ascidians - samples separated into colonial and solitary preserved in formalin;
Brachiopoda - Frozen;
Bryozoa - Frozen;
Hydroids - Frozen;
Miscellaneous - Frozen;
Worms - Formalin.

A pipe-dredge was attached to the sled to collect sediment samples: a 500 ml subsample was retained.

The Pilbara Marine Conservation Partnership (PMCP) was an initiative designed to enhance the net conservation benefits of the globally-significant coral reef ecosystems of the Pilbara (Western Australia) by providing an assessment of the condition and trajectory of key ecological values. These assessments were designed to inform and complement existing governance and management arrangements and the PMCP is intended to provide ongoing advice and assessment for conservation efforts in the region, providing lasting benefits.
The PMCP concept is based on three core ecological components, namely:
Coral Reef Health - concentrating mainly on habitat forming primary producers.
Fish and Sharks - their community structure, interactions and impacts on lower trophic levels.
Environmental Pressures - physical and anthropogenic factors that influence the condition of reefs

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