UWA Oceans Institute

Hard and wet bottoms: monitoring marine life on subtidal reefs in WA

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Rocky reefs along WA’s extensive coastline support diverse and unique assemblages of seaweeds and invertebrates, such as corals and sponges.

These plants and animals are the building blocks of the seabed ecosystem, and provide food and habitat for a wealth of economically important fish and invertebrate species.

Researchers at UWA, in collaboration with CSIRO, University of Sydney and others, have conducted numerous surveys to characterise this reef biota.

A range of methods have been employed, included a remotely-deployed ‘drop-camera’ system, diver conducted sampling and an Automated Underwater Vehicle (AUV).

The surveys were conducted at depths of 4 to 88 m, from Esperance to the Abrolhos Islands, and captured a stunning array of marine life.

This work will provide a benchmark against which to detect future change in the structure and diversity of these assemblages, driven by (for example) climate change or coastal development.