Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - Tough

Tasmanian marine life summit - ground-breaking data

by Media Services on 23 Nov 2012
The summit will delve deeper than scientists have been able to before. George Roff
Scientists are hoping a two-week workshop on a Tasmanian island will help them break new ground in the understanding of marine life.

International researchers are staying on Maria Island off the south-east coast of Tasmania to collate survey information collected from hundreds of reef divers in 36 countries. Attending the summit are scientists from countries including the US, the Galapagos Islands, Indonesia and Chile.

Rick Stuart-Smith from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies says the information will allow researchers to assess the impact of overfishing, pollution and climate change on a scale never seen before.

'The reef life survey data set is altogether and organised now and it's actually one of the best resources in the world for this sort of information,' he said, adding that there’s a much greater spatial coverage and level of detail that's ever been possible before.

Ed Parnell from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the United States says before this study there was no consistent global information on marine life.

'This is a unique opportunity to see who things are going globally. There are some fishery records showing that a lot of species are harder and harder to catch, but in terms of this type of protocol in the shallower reef environments there's not a lot of data from other species at all.'

The 20 international researchers and the 14 UTAS staff members and students will be accommodated in the World Heritage Listed Darlington Probation Station, courtesy of the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. The former convict rooms do not have electricity but the Mess Hall and Chapel will have power and internet facilities.

The workshop, led by Professor Graham Edgar and Dr Rick Stuart-Smith (a 2012 Tasmanian Young Tall Poppy Science Awardee) from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), will be based on the information collected through the Reef Life Survey (RLS) project.

The RLS was developed by Prof Edgar in 2007 through support to UTAS provided by the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. It trains and supports committed recreational scuba divers to collect detailed biodiversity data on a scale far greater than possible for scientific dive teams.

'IMAS is proud of its role in nurturing the Reef Life Survey dataset,' the Institute’s Executive Director, Professor Mike Coffin, said today. 'It is massive in its geographic and taxonomic scope, encompassing more than 1800 sites in 36 nations, and covering more than 4000 marine species.'

The workshop itself is 'something of an experiment for IMAS,' he added. 'We are keen to see how it works out, both in terms of scientific productivity and outputs, and also in terms of social interactions and collaborative links established.'

Dr Stuart-Smith says the aim is 'to improve understanding on how the world’s marine life is distributed naturally, and how natural patterns have been affected by human impacts such as overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, global climate change and species introductions.

'Particular emphasis will be placed on filling gaps needed to better manage the conservation of marine biodiversity, including how managers can improve conservation outcomes when declaring marine protected areas.'

According to Prof Edgar, 'This meeting draws on the efforts of enthusiastic recreational divers who have collected detailed ecological data worldwide, and support from our overseas scientific colleagues.

'We have now been able to establish a dataset on densities of fishes and other marine life that is many times larger than available for previous scientific study, allowing us to answer previously-unsolved questions associated with the great complexity of life in the sea.

'I look forward to seeing what new discoveries eventuate over the next two weeks, and the benefits these bring to management of our seas.'

More at www.reeflifesurvey.com
Guy Nowell - Yellow 660Kiwi Yachting - LewmarGAC Pindar

Related Articles

New Mercury 9.9hp outboard the lightest in class - with electric start
New model is not only easier to lift and carry than competitive products, its compact design means it’s simple to handle Weighing in from just 26kg (57lbs), the new 169cc model is not only easier to lift and carry than competitive products, its compact design means it’s simple to handle.
Posted on 29 Jul
New Mercury 9.9hp outboard the lightest in class - with electric start
New model is not only easier to lift and carry than competitive products, its compact design means it’s simple to handle Weighing in from just 26kg (57lbs), the new 169cc model is not only easier to lift and carry than competitive products, its compact design means it’s simple to handle.
Posted on 29 Jul
Doors open on Thursday for Sydney International Boat Show
Doors open on Thursday for the 49th running of the Sydney International Boat Show. Doors open on Thursday for the 49th running of the Sydney International Boat Show. This year will prove to be educational, entertaining and a great day out for all the family.
Posted on 27 Jul
Lowrance® wins Readers' Choice Award
Readers of Game and Fish/Sportsman Magazine selected the Lowrance HDS Gen3 as their Favorite Fishfinder/GPS Lowrance®, a world-leading brand in fishing electronics since 1957, announced today that readers of Game and Fish/Sportsman Magazine selected the Lowrance HDS Gen3 as their Favorite Fishfinder/GPS in this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards.
Posted on 21 Jul
Fisheries Victoria praises good tuna fisher behavior
Fisheries Victoria has congratulated majority of south-west anglers and people who visited region on fishing actions Fisheries Victoria has congratulated the majority of south-west anglers and people who visited the region on their general positive fishing actions and behaviour so far in the Southern Bluefin tuna (SBT) season.
Posted on 21 Jul
Champion Angler joins Product Development Team
Captain Ray Rosher has joined the company’s Product Development and Pro Staff Team. Leading boating and sportfishing products manufacturer Taco Marine® announced today that Captain Ray Rosher has joined the company’s Product Development and Pro Staff Team.
Posted on 14 Jul
Victoria welcomes nine new Fisheries Officers
The appointment of newly Fisheries Officers across the state will bring the team looking after Victoria’s fish stocks The appointment of nine newly-trained Fisheries Officers across the state will bring the team looking after Victoria’s fish stocks up to full strength.
Posted on 14 Jul
Fishing attachments plus one handle equals more space
From a family of warriors to the hardcore offshore angler fishermen often end up with a boat that's crammed full of gear From a family of weekend warriors to the hardcore offshore angler, fishermen often end up with a boat that's crammed full of gear. To solve that problem, Shurhold offers a line of fishing accessories that fits its One Handle Does It All system. It helps solve the onboard storage problem and makes fishing more enjoyable and productive.
Posted on 8 Jul
Barz floating sunglasses - Ideal for sailing in rough conditions
Our SAN JUAN floating model fitted with 1.1mm Acetate Lenses have a density of 0.95 GM/ML Barz floating sunglasses float in rough conditions. Most sunglasses that say they float, only float in the bathtub as once they break surface tension (or if there is any movement on top of the water)... down they go...
Posted on 7 Jul
Sydney International Boat Show – A pilgrimage for boaters
Connecting the two is a ferry service that also gives show visitors a bonus voyage across the magnificent Sydney Harbour The event is well known for delivering a comprehensive variety of products, across all boating sectors. Joining local visitors, the show also has a large number of guests from across the country as well as overseas, making it the ideal location for the marine industry to use as a base to launch new products and services.
Posted on 5 Jul