Seafloor bathymetry and biodiversity of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, Lord Howe Marine Park
Authors / CoAuthors
This flythrough highlights shallow and mesophotic seabed environments of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, located within the Lord Howe Marine Park. These reefs are unique because they are the southern-most platform reefs in the world and host a diverse range of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate marine species. High-resolution multibeam bathymetry data and seafloor imagery used in this flythrough was acquired by the Marine Biodiversity Hub, during the period 31 January to 6 February 2020 on board the Australian Maritime College vessel, TV Bluefin. Participating agencies included Geoscience Australia, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (University of Tasmania), the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (University of Sydney) through their involvement with the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), NSW Department of Primary Industries and Parks Australia. The specific aim of the survey was to fill knowledge gaps on the distribution, extent and structure of seabed habitats and associated sessile and mobile fauna in the lagoon and mesophotic shelves of Elizabeth (Recreational Use Zone) and Middleton (National Park Zone) Reefs, using a suite of national standard survey tools and best practice sampling procedures. Data acquisition for the project included seabed mapping using multibeam sonar (Kongsberg EM 2040C HD, 300 kHz), seabed imagery acquisition by Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV Sirius and AUV Nimbus), sediment samples, and imagery of demersal fish communities by stereo-baited remote underwater videos (stereo-BRUVs).
This work was undertaken by the Marine Biodiversity Hub, a collaborative partnership supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP), and Parks Australia. AUV data was sourced from Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) – IMOS is enabled by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). It is operated by a consortium of institutions as an unincorporated joint venture, with the University of Tasmania as Lead Agent.
This multimedia product is published with the permission of the CEO, Geoscience Australia.