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  • This dataset contains species identifications of molluscs collected during survey SOL4934 (R.V. Solander, 27 August - 24 September, 2009). Animals were collected from the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf with a benthic sled. Specimens were lodged at Northern Territory Museum on the 3 May 2010. Species-level identifications were undertaken by Richard Willan at the Northern Territory Museum and were delivered to Geoscience Australia on the 5 May 2010 (leg 1 only). See GA Record 2010/09 for further details on survey methods and specimen acquisition. Data is presented here exactly as delivered by the taxonomist, and Geoscience Australia is unable to verify the accuracy of the taxonomic identifications.

  • In early 2014 the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer conducted the first ever multidisciplinary study of the Sabrina Coast continental shelf. This area is remote and generally inaccessible, but biological significance is recognised by its initial inclusion within the proposed East Antarctic representative system of Marine Protected Areas. The datasets collected during this voyage allow analysis of the physical habitat parameters and benthic biota through interpretation of bottom camera images, high resolution multibeam bathymetry, sediment properties and oceanographic measurements, with satellite observations of sea ice also providing important environmental context. The suite of environmental and biological datasets provides evidence for a diverse, relatively high biomass continental shelf community that is strongly structured by the physical environment. The distribution of benthic taxa is most closely related ( = 0.592) to seafloor bathymetry, substrate type, latitude and the occurrence of phytodetritus. Phytodetritus accumulation is associated with muddy/sandy substrates, indicating long term sediment focussing in these areas, consistent with evidence of bottom recirculation features. These softer substrates contain relatively high abundances of mobile holothurians and amphipods. Scattered occurrence of dropstones creates habitat heterogeneity at fine-scales. Harder substrates have high abundances of brachiopods, bryozoans, polychaete tubeworms, a range of massive and encrusting sponges and sea whips. Several taxa are found only on areas of hard substrate, yet have a broad distribution across the sites, indicating that the density of dropstones is sufficient for most sessile invertebrates to disperse across the region. The occurrence of dropstones is associated with significant increases in taxa diversity, abundance and percent biological cover, enhancing the overall diversity and biomass of this ecosystem. This study illustrates how multidisciplinary studies can inform understanding of the drivers of benthic ecosystems, providing important constraints for generating realistic ecosystem models and contributing to our understanding of the sensitivity of this community to environmental change.

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  • It is with great interest that we read the paper by Mueller (2015) who proposes that the majority of small pockmarks with diameters less than about 10 m on the northwest shelf of Australia may be of biotic origin, created by the fish Epinephelus, the Grouper. This hypothesis is based on a spatial association between pockmarks and Epinephelus at a number of sites on the northwest shelf and elsewhere around Australia, and on recent work undertaken on the habitats and observed behaviours of grouper fish in the Gulf of Mexico who excavate sediment from pre-existing solution cavities (Coleman et al., 2010; Wall et al., 2011). However, we contend that critical details have not been taken into account as part of Mueller's (2015) hypothesis, and additional consideration of existing geologic, geomorphic, sedimentologic and geochemical information is required. To make the science more robust, here we present a more comprehensive overview of the information available.

  • Geoscience Australia has been updating its collection of navigation for marine surveys in Australia. These include original navigation files, the 2003 SNIP navigation files and survey track maps along with survey acquisition reports. The result will be an updated cleansed navigation collection. The collection is based on the standard P190 extended header navigation file which follows the UKOOA standard. Industry standard metadata associated with a seismic survey is preserved. To assist industry, Geoscience Australia is making available its updated version of cleansed navigation. Although the process of updating the navigation data is ongoing and there is still legacy data to check, the navigation data is at point where a significant improvement has been achieved and it is now usable. Users should be aware that this navigation is not final and there may be errors. The KML file can be viewed using a range of applications including Google Earth, NASA WorldWind, ESRI ArcGIS Explorer, Adobe PhotoShop, AutoCAD3D or any other earth browser (geobrowser) that accepts KML formatted data. Alternatively the Shapefiles can be downloaded and viewed using any application that supports shape files.

  • This dataset contains species identifications of echinoderms collected during survey GA2476 (R.V. Solander, 12 August - 15 September 2008). Animals were collected from the Western Australian Margin with a BODO sediment grab or rock dredge. Specimens were lodged at Museum of Victoria on the 10 March 2009. Species-level identifications were undertaken by Tim O'Hara at the Museum of Victoria and were delivered to Geoscience Australia on the 24 April 2009. See GA Record 2009/02 for further details on survey methods and specimen acquisition. Data is presented here exactly as delivered by the taxonomist, and Geoscience Australia is unable to verify the accuracy of the taxonomic identifications.

  • Geoscience Australia carried out a marine survey on Carnarvon shelf (WA) in 2008 (SOL4769) to map seabed bathymetry and characterise benthic environments through co-located sampling of surface sediments and infauna, observation of benthic habitats using underwater towed video and stills photography, and measurement of ocean tides and wave-generated currents. Data and samples were acquired using the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) Research Vessel Solander. Bathymetric mapping, sampling and video transects were completed in three survey areas that extended seaward from Ningaloo Reef to the shelf edge, including: Mandu Creek (80 sq km); Point Cloates (281 sq km), and; Gnaraloo (321 sq km). Additional bathymetric mapping (but no sampling or video) was completed between Mandu creek and Point Cloates, covering 277 sq km and north of Mandu Creek, covering 79 sq km. Two oceanographic moorings were deployed in the Point Cloates survey area. The survey also mapped and sampled an area to the northeast of the Muiron Islands covering 52 sq km. This is a folder of the images derived from benthic samples taken on cruise Sol4769 aboard RV Solander. Subfolders house images of Echinodermata, Mollusca, Polychaete, images taken of fresh material during cruise, and various categories of Crustacea, denoted by a C_ prefix in the folder name. Images of fresh material were made using a Canon EOS 40D camera on a rostrum in the wet lab of the ship. Images of preserved material were made using a Nikon Coolpix camera mounted on a Macroscope in the benthic lab at GA. These images formed the first point of reference in identifying subsequent specimens to save wear and tear on the specimens put aside as reference material.