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  • Australia is increasingly recognised as a global hotspot for sponge biodiversity, with sponges playing key roles in habitat provision, water quality, bioerosion, and biodiscovery. Despite the intense focus on marine resource management in northern Australia, there is a large knowledge gap about sponge communities in this region. This study focuses on shelf environments of the Timor Sea, in particular the Van Diemen Rise and Londonderry Rise which are characterised by extensive carbonate terraces, banks and reefs, separated by soft sediment plains and deeply incised valleys. These carbonate terraces and banks are recognised as a Key Ecological Feature (KEF) in the marine region plans for northern Australia (North and Northwest Marine Regions) and are in part incorporated into the Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve. To support the management of this marine reserve and its associated KEF, we use new datasets to investigate regional patterns in sponge assemblages and their relationships to seabed geomorphology. To do this, we use sponge assemblage data and multibeam-derived variables (depth, backscatter, slope, geomorphic feature) from seven survey areas located on the Van Diemen Rise (four sites) and Londonderry Rise (three sites), spanning approximately 320 km in an east-west direction. The dataset was collected during three collaborative surveys undertaken in 2009, 2010 and 2012 by Geoscience Australia, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory as part of the Australian Government's Offshore Energy Security Initiative and the National Environmental Research Program Marine Biodiversity Hub. All surveys returned geophysical, biological, geochemical, and sedimentological data. Benthic biota were collected with a benthic sled across a range of geomorphic features (bank, terrace, ridge, plain, valley) identified from high-resolution multibeam sonar. Sponges were then taxonomically identified to 350 species, with the species accumulation curve indicating there may be over 900 sponge species in the region. Sponge assemblages were different between the Van Diemen Rise and Londonderry Rise, as well as between individual banks in the same area, indicating that different suites of species occurred at regional (east-west) and local (between banks) scales. Relationships between sponges and other multibeam-derived variables are more complex and warrant further research. The current study will help: i) facilitate integrated marine management by providing a baseline species inventory; ii) support the listing of carbonate banks of the Timor Sea shelf as a Key Ecological Feature, and; iii) inform future monitoring of marine protected area performance, particularly for areas of complex seabed geomorphology.

  • Geoscience Australia undertook a marine survey of the Vlaming Sub-basin in March and April 2012 to provide seabed and shallow geological information to support an assessment of the CO2 storage potential of this sedimentary basin. The survey was undertaken under the Australian Government's National CO2 Infrastructure Plan (NCIP) to help identify sites suitable for the long term storage of CO2 within reasonable distances of major sources of CO2 emissions. The Vlaming Sub-basin is located offshore from Perth, Western Australia, and was previously identified by the Carbon Storage Taskforce (2009) as potentially highly suitable for CO2 storage. The principal aim of the Vlaming Sub-basin marine survey (GA survey number GA334) was to look for evidence of any past or current gas or fluid seepage at the seabed, and to determine whether these features are related to structures (e.g. faults) in the Vlaming Sub-basin that may extend up to the seabed. The survey also mapped seabed habitats and biota in the areas of interest to provide information on communities and biophysical features that may be associated with seepage. This research addresses key questions on the potential for containment of CO2 in the Early Cretaceous Gage Sandstone (the basin's proposed CO2 storage unit) and the regional integrity of the South Perth Shale (the seal unit that overlies the Gage Sandstone). This dataset comprises sediment oxygen demand measurments from seabed sediments.

  • Geoscience Australia undertook a marine survey of the Vlaming Sub-basin in March and April 2012 to provide seabed and shallow geological information to support an assessment of the CO2 storage potential of this sedimentary basin. The survey was undertaken under the Australian Government's National CO2 Infrastructure Plan (NCIP) to help identify sites suitable for the long term storage of CO2 within reasonable distances of major sources of CO2 emissions. The Vlaming Sub-basin is located offshore from Perth, Western Australia, and was previously identified by the Carbon Storage Taskforce (2009) as potentially highly suitable for CO2 storage. The principal aim of the Vlaming Sub-basin marine survey (GA survey number GA334) was to look for evidence of any past or current gas or fluid seepage at the seabed, and to determine whether these features are related to structures (e.g. faults) in the Vlaming Sub-basin that may extend up to the seabed. The survey also mapped seabed habitats and biota in the areas of interest to provide information on communities and biophysical features that may be associated with seepage. This research addresses key questions on the potential for containment of CO2 in the Early Cretaceous Gage Sandstone (the basin's proposed CO2 storage unit) and the regional integrity of the South Perth Shale (the seal unit that overlies the Gage Sandstone). This dataset comprises %carbonate and specific surface area of seabed sediments.

  • The Petrel Sub-basin Marine Environmental Survey GA-0335, (SOL5463) was undertaken using the RV Solander during May 2012 as part of the Commonwealth Government's National Low Emission Coal Initiative (NLECI). The survey was undertaken as a collaboration between the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and GA. The purpose was to acquire geophysical and biophysical data on shallow (less then 100m water depth) seabed environments within two targeted areas in the Petrel Sub-basin to support investigation for CO2 storage potential in these areas. This 10 sample data-set comprises sediment oxygen demand data (expressed as % saturation per gram dry weight) from surface seabed sediments (~0-2 cm) in the Timor Sea.

  • The Petrel Sub-basin Marine Environmental Survey GA-0335, (SOL5463) was undertaken using the RV Solander during May 2012 as part of the Commonwealth Government's National Low Emission Coal Initiative (NLECI). The survey was undertaken as a collaboration between the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and GA. The purpose was to acquire geophysical and biophysical data on shallow (less then 100m water depth) seabed environments within two targeted areas in the Petrel Sub-basin to support investigation for CO2 storage potential in these areas. This 10 sample dataset comprises chlorophll abc measurments from surface sediments (0-2 cm) in the Timor Sea.

  • The Petrel Sub-basin Marine Environmental Survey GA-0335, (SOL5463) was undertaken using the RV Solander during May 2012 as part of the Commonwealth Government's National Low Emission Coal Initiative (NLECI). The survey was undertaken as a collaboration between the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and GA. The purpose was to acquire geophysical and biophysical data on shallow (less then 100m water depth) seabed environments within two targeted areas in the Petrel Sub-basin to support investigation for CO2 storage potential in these areas. This 10 sample data-set comprises specific surface area and bulk (%) carbonate data from surface seabed sediments (~0-2 cm) in the Timor Sea.

  • The Petrel Sub-basin Marine Environmental Survey GA-0335, (SOL5463) was undertaken by the RV Solander during May 2012 as part of the Commonwealth Government's National Low Emission Coal Initiative (NLECI). The survey was undertaken as a collaboration between the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and GA. The purpose was to acquire geophysical and biophysical data on shallow (less then 100m water depth) seabed environments within two targeted areas in the Petrel Sub-basin to support investigation for CO2 storage potential in these areas. This dataset comprises TCO2 pools (0-2cm) and fluxes calculated from bottle incubation experiments (24 hours).

  • The Petrel Sub-basin Marine Environmental Survey GA-0335, (SOL5463) was undertaken using the RV Solander during May 2012 as part of the Commonwealth Government's National Low Emission Coal Initiative (NLECI). The survey was undertaken as a collaboration between the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and GA. The purpose was to acquire geophysical and biophysical data on shallow (less then 100m water depth) seabed environments within two targeted areas in the Petrel Sub-basin to support investigation for CO2 storage potential in these areas. This dataset comprise TOC, TN and carbon and nitrogen isotope data from surface sediments (0-2cm) in the Timor Sea.

  • Geoscience Australia (GA) conducted a marine survey (GA0345/GA0346/TAN1411) of the north-eastern Browse Basin (Caswell Sub-basin) between 9 October and 9 November 2014 to acquire seabed and shallow geological information to support an assessment of the CO2 storage potential of the basin. The survey, undertaken as part of the Department of Industry and Science's National CO2 Infrastructure Plan (NCIP), aimed to identify and characterise indicators of natural hydrocarbon or fluid seepage that may indicate compromised seal integrity in the region. The survey was conducted in three legs aboard the New Zealand research vessel RV Tangaroa, and included scientists and technical staff from GA, the NZ National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd. (NIWA) and Fugro Survey Pty Ltd. Shipboard data (survey ID GA0345) collected included multibeam sonar bathymetry and backscatter over 12 areas (A1, A2, A3, A4, A6b, A7, A8, B1, C1, C2b, F1, M1) totalling 455 km2 in water depths ranging from 90 - 430 m, and 611 km of sub-bottom profile lines. Seabed samples were collected from 48 stations and included 99 Smith-McIntyre grabs and 41 piston cores. An Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) (survey ID GA0346) collected higher-resolution multibeam sonar bathymetry and backscatter data, totalling 7.7 km2, along with 71 line km of side scan sonar, underwater camera and sub-bottom profile data. Twenty two Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) missions collected 31 hours of underwater video, 657 still images, eight grabs and one core. This catalogue entry refers to Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) still image data acquired during survey GA0345/GA0346/TAN1411. Following mapping with the shipboard multibeam, higher-resolution multibeam data were acquired in targeted areas using a Kongsberg Simrad EM2000 system mounted to the Fugro Echo Surveyor V (ES-5) AUV. This instrument had a depth rating of 3000 m, and surveyed the seafloor according to a pre-programmed mission plan. The AUV was fitted with a camera and light system designed to produce images of equal width and height (in the context of this survey, the images comprised 8 m by 8 m of seafloor). The equipment consisted of a light sensitive NEO 11 Megapixel 35 mm monochrome CCD (4008 x 2672) camera and two LED panels, each comprising 360 LEDs. High-resolution multibeam bathymetric data was collected together with side scan sonar and sub bottom profile data at an elevation of 30 m above the seafloor, and at line spacing's of 100 m. Overlapping high-resolution still photographs (captured every second) were then acquired on the survey lines at an elevation of 8 m above the seafloor. The AUV was equipped with an advanced real-time Aided Inertial Navigation System, which calculated the position, velocity and altitude of the vehicle and a HiPAP 500 USBL system was used to acoustically position the AUV. Underwater imagery was collected from two AUV missions in study Areas 3 and 4. During the 2nd AUV mission on 22 October, the vehicle encountered an obstruction on the seabed and became trapped despite commencing an emergency ascent sequence. The AUV was subsequently recovered from the seabed during salvage operations incorporated into the ROV phase of survey operations. A total of 24 877 still images were acquired in Area 3 and 20 743 in Area 4 over 58 and 56 line kilometres, respectively. Still images (.jpg files) are located in folder 'TAN1411_AUV_STILLS' with sub-folders named according to gear code (AUV= Autonomous Underwater Vehicle), mission and study Area (e.g. AUV_M2_A3 = still images acquired during AUV mission 2 in Area 3). USBL (Ultra-short baseline) text files (`TileCam.idx) are located in each sub-folder and provide continuous navigational information on location, time (UTC) and depth of AUV still imagery transect lines.

  • Geoscience Australia undertook a marine survey of the Leveque Shelf (survey number SOL5754/GA0340), a sub-basin of the Browse Basin, in May 2013. This survey provides seabed and shallow geological information to support an assessment of the CO2 storage potential of the Browse sedimentary basin. The basin, located on the Northwest Shelf, Western Australia, was previously identified by the Carbon Storage Taskforce (2009) as potentially suitable for CO2 storage. The survey was undertaken under the Australian Government's National CO2 Infrastructure Plan (NCIP) to help identify sites suitable for the long term storage of CO2 within reasonable distances of major sources of CO2 emissions. The principal aim of the Leveque Shelf marine survey was to look for evidence of any past or current gas or fluid seepage at the seabed, and to determine whether these features are related to structures (e.g. faults) in the Leveque Shelf area that may extend to the seabed. The survey also mapped seabed habitats and biota to provide information on communities and biophysical features that may be associated with seepage. This research, combined with deeper geological studies undertaken concurrently, addresses key questions on the potential for containment of CO2 in the basin's proposed CO2 storage unit, i.e. the basal sedimentary section (Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous), and the regional integrity of the Jamieson Formation (the seal unit overlying the main reservoir). This dataset comprises total chlorin concentrations and chlorin indices from the upper 2cm of seabed sediments.