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  • Geoscience Australia marine reconnaissance survey TAN0713 to the Lord Howe Rise offshore eastern Australia was completed as part of the Federal Government¿s Offshore Energy Security Program between 7 October and 22 November 2007 using the New Zealand Government¿s research vessel Tangaroa. The survey was designed to sample key, deep-sea environments on the east Australian margin (a relatively poorly-studied shelf region in terms of sedimentology and benthic habitats) to better define the Capel and Faust basins, which are two major sedimentary basins beneath the Lord Howe Rise. Samples recovered on the survey contribute to a better understanding of the geology of the basins and assist with an appraisal of their petroleum potential. They also add to the inventory of baseline data on deep-sea sediments in Australia. The principal scientific objectives of the survey were to: (1) characterise the physical properties of the seabed associated with the Capel and Faust basins and Gifford Guyot; (2) investigate the geological history of the Capel and Faust basins from a geophysical and geological perspective; and (3) characterise the abiotic and biotic relationships on an offshore submerged plateau, a seamount, and locations where fluid escape features were evident. This dataset comprises total oxygen uptake and total carbon fluxes from core incubation experiments. Some relevant publications which pertain to these datasets include: 1. Heap, A.D., Hughes, M., Anderson, T., Nichol, S., Hashimoto, T., Daniell, J., Przeslawski, R., Payne, D., Radke, L., and Shipboard Party, (2009). Seabed Environments and Subsurface Geology of the Capel and Faust basins and Gifford Guyot, Eastern Australia ¿ post survey report. Geoscience Australia, Record 2009/22, 166pp. 2. Radke, L.C. Heap, A.D., Douglas, G., Nichol, S., Trafford, J., Li, J., and Przeslawski, R. 2011. A geochemical characterization of deep-sea floor sediments of the northern Lord Howe Rise. Deep Sea Research II 58: 909-921

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  • Map depicting major Australian Oil & Gas Fields as at 23 March 2009.

  • This dataset contains species identifications of all taxa collected from grabs during survey SOL4934 (R.V. Solander, 27 August - 24 September, 2009). Animals were collected from the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf with a Smith-MacIntyre grab. Echinoderms, molluscs, and worms were identified by taxonomists Tim O'Hara, Richard Willan, and Belinda Glasby, respectively, and lodged at museums. All other taxa were identified to operational taxonomic units by Rachel Przeslawski and lodged at the Australian Museum on the 27 August 2011. See GA Record 2010/09 for further details on survey methods and specimen acquisition.

  • Submarine canyons are recognised as having an influence on oceanographic processes, sediment transport, productivity and benthic biodiversity from the shelf to the slope. However, not all canyons are the same and the relative importance of an individual canyon will, in part, be determined by its form, shape and position on the continental margin. Here we present an analysis of these parameters using an updated national dataset of 713 submarine canyons for the margin of mainland Australia. Attribute data for each canyon is used to classify them into canyon types across a hierarchy of canyon physical characteristics for shelf-incised and slope-confined (blind) canyons. At each level on the hierarchy, large groupings of canyons are identified that represent common sets of characteristics. The spatial distribution of canyons on the Australian margin is not regular, with clusters located in the east, southeast, west and southwest. The northern margin has the lowest concentration of canyons. We also assess the potential productivity associated with the various canyon types using chlorophyll-a data derived from satellite (MODIS) images. Shelf-incised canyons are associated with significantly higher and more temporally variable chlorophyll-a concentrations, consistent with their function as conduits for upwelling. Australian submarine canyons are well represented in the national network of marine protected areas, with 36 percent of the mapped canyon population intersecting (whole or in part) a Commonwealth Marine Reserve. This information is relevant to setting priorities for the management of these reserves. Results from this study provide a framework for further analysis of the relative importance of canyons on the Australian margin.

  • Life in icy waters: A geoscience perspective of life on the Antarctic seafloor

  • The Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) (>71,000 km2) is located in the Timor Sea and is part of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas of Australia. The Reserve incorporates extensive areas of carbonate banks and terraces that are recognised in the North and North West Marine Region Management Plans as Key Ecological Features (KEFs). Although poorly studied, these features have been identified as potential biodiversity hotspots for the Australian tropical north. As part of the National Environment Research Program (NERP), Geoscience Australia (GA) in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) undertook a marine biodiversity survey in 2012 to improve the knowledge of this area and better understand the importance of these KEFs. Amongst the many activities undertaken, continuous high-resolution multibeam mapping, video and still camera observations, and physical seabed sampling of four areas covering 510 km2 within the western side of the CMR was completed. Multibeam imagery reveals a high geomorphic diversity in the Oceanic Shoals CMR, with numerous banks and terraces, elevated 30 to 65 m above the generally flat seabed (~105 m water depth), that provide hard substrate for benthic communities. The surrounding plains are characterised by fields of depressions (pockmarks) formed in soft silty sediments that are generally barren of any epibenthos. A distinctive feature of many pockmarks is a linear scour mark that extends several tens of metres (up to 150 m) from pockmark depressions. Previous numerical and flume tank simulations have shown that scouring of pockmarks occurs in the direction of the dominant near-seabed flow. These geomorphic features may therefore serve as a proxy for local-scale bottom currents, which may in turn inform on sediment processes operating in these areas and contribute to the understanding of the distribution of biodiversity. This study focused on characterising these seabed scoured depressions and investigating their potential as an environmental proxy for habitat studies. The study used ArcGIS spatial analyst tools to quantify the features and explored their potential relationships with other variables (e.g. multibeam backscatter, regional modelled bottom stress, biological abundance and presence/absence) to provide insight into their development, and contribute to a better understanding of the environment surrounding carbonate banks. Preliminary results show a relationship between pockmark types, i.e. with or without scour mark, and backscatter strength. This relationship suggests some additional shallow sub-surface control, mainly related to the presence of buried carbonate bank. In addition, the results suggest that tidal flows are redirected by the banks, leading to locally varied flow directions and 'shadowing' in the lee of the larger banks. This in turn is likely to have an influence on the observed density and abundance of benthic assemblages.

  • This dataset contains sediment and geochemistry information for the Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) in the Timor Sea collected by Geoscience Australia during September and October 2012 on RV Solander (survey GA0339/SOL5650). Further information on the survey is available in the post-survey report published as Geoscience Australia Record 2013/38: Nichol, S.L., Howard, F.J.F., Kool, J., Stowar, M., Bouchet, P., Radke, L., Siwabessy, J., Przeslawski, R., Picard, K., Alvarez de Glasby, B., Colquhoun, J., Letessier, T. & Heyward, A. 2013. Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Timor Sea) Biodiversity Survey: GA0339/SOL5650 - Post Survey Report. Record 2013/38. Geoscience Australia: Canberra. (GEOCAT #76658).

  • 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 8 February 2010. Species-level identifications were undertaken by Richard Willan at the Northern Territory Museum and were delivered to Geoscience Australia on the 15 March 2010. 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.<p><p>This dataset is not to be used for navigational purposes.