Seagrass Beds

Australian Marine Ecology has studied a large number of seagrass habitat types and places, including Zostera muelleri, Zostera nigricaulis, Amphibolis antarctica and Posidonia australis. We have been at the forefront of work in Victoria to determine light climates required to sustain seagrass beds, modelling biomass and patch dynamics and using growth reconstruction of internode lengths to examine historical growth patterns, over 20 years in some cases. We also have experience in mapping distributions, monitoring of abundance and growth and impact assessments.alt

We typically use diving, underwater visual census, instrument loggers, towed and AUV video, satellite imagery, sidescan sonar, respiration chambers and computer modelling methods for our seagrass investigations.

Australian Marine Ecology’s seagrass experience includes:

  • monthly monitoring of seagrass  density, growth  and production in Port Phillip Bay;
  • long-term monitoring of Amphibolis antarctica seagrass abundance in central Victoria;
  • measurement of photosynthesis and light climates of Zostera nigricaulis and Amphibolis antarctica in Port Phillip Bay;
  • long-term growth dynamics reconstruction for Amphibolis and Posidonia in Victoria;
  • modelling seagrass primary production, growth, architecture and patch dynamics;
  • impact assessment of dredge suspended sediment plumes on seagrasses in Port Phillip Bay, Corner Inlet and Lakes Entrance; and
  • surveys of associated faunal assemblages.

Australian Marine Ecology is presently developing light-driven clonal growth models as part of its research and development program. These will assist in determining sustainable light climates for environmental management.


Sediment Communities

Australian Marine Ecology has in-house soft sediment experts with considerable experience in the study of benthic infaunal and epibenthic communities.

We typically use diving hand and cores, vessel operated corers and grabs, diving underwater visual census, scientific single beam sonar, sidescan sonar, AUV video transects, ROV video census, instrument loggers, respiration chambers and computer modelling methods for our sediment studies.alt

Our experience and expertise in bare sediment habitats includes:

  • baseline surveys of infauna and epibenthic plants and animals of proposed aquaculture in Victoria;
  • description and mapping of infaunal communities in estuarine and coastal shelf habitats around Australia and New Zealand;
  • description of infaunal and epibiota marine pests within Port Phillip Bay;
  • infaunal taxonomy and publication of keys and identification guide;
  • monitoring of microphytobenthos biomass and photokinetic parameters;
  • modelling of microphytobenthos photosynthesis, primary production and biomass in Port Phillip Bay;
  • impact assessment of dredge suspended sediment plumes on microphytobenthos in Port Phillip Bay;
  • impact of dredge sediment plume sedimentation and dredged material placement in Victoria and New Zealand;
  • impact assessment of wastewater discharges on infaunal diversity and community structure in northern Tasmania;
  • measurement and monitoring of environmental parameters such as grain size, organic carbon, nutrients, dissolved oxygen and redox potential of sediments;
  • ecology of drift-algal beds in Port Phillip Bay, including seasonal changes in nutrient content;
  • surveys of biodiversity associated with Pyura clump habitat; and
  • targeted sampling of listed invertebrate taxa for risk assessment and conservation management on construction projects.


Intertidal Habitatsalt

Australian Marine Ecology has extensively studied intertidal habitats around Victoria. Australian Marine Ecology is at the forefront of studies on the Victorian coast; including development and implementation of standardised long term monitoring methods.

Australian Marine Ecology staff has extensive experience in monitoring and impact assessments of intertidal reef communities. This has included assessments of sewage effluent discharges; installations of aquaculture seawater pipes and port and harbour developments.

We typically use visual census, aerial photography and satellite imagery methods for our intertidal investigations.

Our intertidal project experience also includes:

  • Victorian Intertidal Reef Monitoring Program;
  • assessment of aquaculture intake pipe alignments;
  • assessment of beach fauna and habitats for sub-sea cable installations;
  • habitat assessments and mapping for pier, ports and harbours developments;
  • intertidal community surveys for harbour management; and
  • scientific reviews.


Shallow Reef Communitiesalt

Australian Marine Ecology is at the fore front of shallow reef studies on the Victorian coast; including long-term monitoring for over 12 years at sites throughout Victoria. This has provided invaluable insights into population and community stability and dynamics. Australian Marine Ecology also has extensive experience and expertise with respect to marine pests, fished species, threatened species, ecological processes and environmental impact assessment.

We typically use diving, underwater visual census, photoquadrats, diver-operated stereo video (DOVS), baited video stations (BRUVS), individual tagging, specimen sampling, trapping, instrument loggers, towed and AUV video, satellite imagery, sidescan sonar, multibeam echosounder, respiration chambers and larval settlement plate methods for our shallow reef investigations.

Our shallow reef expertise and experience includes:

  • community-environment associations in Tasmania and Victoria;
  • classification and biogeography of assemblages;
  • long term monitoring of populations and communities from sheltered to exposed communities;
  • taxonomy and curation of new species;
  • description and mapping of assemblages and habitats;
  • monitoring and mapping pests and pathogens, including abalone virus, kelp dieback and Japanese kelp in Tasmania and Victoria;
  • measurement and modelling of seaweed photosynthesis and primary production;
  • impact assessment of dredge suspended sediment plumes;
  • impact assessment of wastewater and brine discharges;
  • impact assessment of subsea installations;
  • population biology of seaweeds, fishes, abalone and rock lobster;
  • description and monitoring of sea urchin barrens;
  • status assessment of marine protected areas in Victoria and Tasmania; and
  • nature conservation assessments and reviews.

Deep Reef Communitiesalt

Australian Marine Ecology has surveyed extensive areas of deep reef habitat in Victoria and is at the forefront of deep reef science in Australia. We developed standardised, quantitative methods for monitoring abundances and assemblage structure of sessile invertebrate communities in temperate and tropical habitats. We typically use ROV video quadrat census, ROV stereo video, AUV transect video, AUV stereo video, limited diving (< 30 m), baited video stations (BRUVS), trapping and multibeam echosounder methods for our deep reef investigations. Australian Marine Ecology has considerable experience of ROV deployments in a range of difficult deep environments, including Bass Strait, The Rip in Port Phillip Heads and Lihou Reef in the Coral Sea.

Our deep reef expertise and experience includes:

  • development of standardised quantitative ROV survey methods and video frame abundance measurement;
  • description, classification and mapping of sessile invertebrate assemblage types;
  • sessile invertebrate community-environment associations in Victoria;
  • Victorian biogeography;
  • habitat facies mapping;
  • modelling and impact prediction of rock falls from dredging in Port Phillip Heads;
  • monitoring and impact assessment of rock falls from dredging in Port Phillip Heads;
  • impact assessments of brine discharges in Victoria;
  • conservation assessment of canyon communities in Port Phillip Heads;
  • marine protected area surveys at The Arches, Twelve Apostles and Wilsons Promontory;
  • exploratory surveys at Lihou Reef, Coral Sea;
  • ROV stereo video fish transect surveys;
  • baited video fish surveys (BRUVS); and
  • development of high resolution stereo video for sessile invertebrate volume and morphological measurements and mosaic mapping.


Shelf Communitiesalt

Australian Marine Ecology has capability and experience in shelf studies, including acoustic habitat mapping, video transects, sediment infauna studies, epibiota biodiversity studies, as well as taxonomy of infauna and benthic sharks. We typically use ROV video quadrat census, AUV and towed video transects, multibeam echosounder and surface vessel corers, grabs and trawls. We also have capability for ROV and AUV stereo video and baited video station (BRUVS) surveys. We usually work in conjunction with multidisciplinary teams during shelf community and habitat investigations.

Our expertise and experience of shelf communities and habitats include:

  • taxonomic revision of the dogshark genus Squalus;.
  • impact assessment of subsea structures, including power and optical fibre cables, on epibiota in Bass Strait;
  • multibeam echosounder habitat mapping, southeast Tasmania; and
  • infaunal assemblages, sediment abiotic parameters and biological-environment associations and distributions off Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia.


Water Quality and Planktonalt

Australian Marine Ecology has considerable experience in water quality and plankton monitoring studies. These include regular field sampling and monitoring, organisation of laboratory analyses and data analysis and interpretation. Our methods typically follow standardised methods, particularly IMOS methods, and use phytoplankton and zooplankton nets, conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) probes, physico-chemical depth profiling instruments, Niskin bottle and suction pipe water sampling for laboratory analysis, underway transect sampling, satellite data, current measurements and mussel toxicant bioaccumulation.

Our expertise and experience of water quality and plankton studies include:

  • wastewater outfall baseline and impact monitoring studies;.
  • dredge plume dispersal and impact studies;
  • Rhodamine dye and salinity  marker dispersal studies;
  • diffuser validation studies; and
  • public beach water quality monitoring.


Pelagics, Reptiles and Marine Mammalsalt

Australian Marine Ecology has in-house expertise in surveys associated with marine mammals, turtles, dugongs and, to a lesser extent sea snakes and seabirds. Our capability includes trained and experienced observers, standardised survey and line-transect methods, hydrophones, tracking by land, vessel and tagging methods, experienced vessel handlers in maneuvering among whales and statistical and stochastic modelling of behaviour, movements and interactions.

Our expertise and experience of marine mammal and similar studies include:

  • marine mammal observer for seismic, oil and gas operations around Australia and in New Zealand;
  • provision of training in marine mammal stranding response;
  • pelagic biodiversity and abundance line-transect surveys by vessel and aircraft;
  • dolphin and whale biopsies and tagging;
  • acoustic/hydrophone sampling and monitoring;
  • sightings and identification database management;
  • behaviour, movement and tracking studies;
  • development of observer and operational guidelines for industry activities;
  • development of whale watching guidelines for ecotourism; and
  • support and services to the documentary film industry.

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Phone/Fax: +61 3 9376 2397

Email: info@marine-ecology.com.au