The project aims to integrate and synthesise data on deepsea octocoral identifications and distribution from CSIRO surveys and museum holdings in Australian waters to support research such as identification of ecological and biological significant areas (EBSA) and vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME), climatology, monitoring of benthic habitats (impacts and recovery) and biogeography. The confirmed octocoral identifications are added to or updated in CAAB as necessary, with 99-codes being established for alpha-species Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) based on the combined collection. In addition, project staff Dr Phil Alderslade is contributing to training workshops and guides for coral identification in collaboration with NIWA. The geographic extent of the project is primarily Australia's EEZ but reaching into neighbouring Oceania regions (e.g. NZ, NC).
Physical specimens are lodged with Australian museums based on region of collection: (1) North Tasman Region: Northern Territory Museum & Art Gallery (NTM), with some duplicate specimens lodged with the Australian Museum (AM); (2) south-eastern Australia region: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG); (3) south-western and north-western Australia: Western Australian Museum (WAM).
RAD -Rank Abundance Distributions
EBSA -Ecological and Biological Significant Areas
VME -Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems
OTU -Operational Taxonomic Units
CAAB -Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota (CSIRO)