University Of Tasmania

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Using an autonomous underwater vehicle to inform management of biodiversity in shelf waters.

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 17:11 authored by Neville BarrettNeville Barrett, Seiler, J, Anderson, T, Williams, s, Nichol, S, Nicole HillNicole Hill
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) have only recently become available as a tool to investigate the biological and physical composition of the seabed utilizing a suite of image capture and high-resolution geophysical tools. In this study we trialed the application of an AUV, integrating AUV image capture with ship-based high resolution multibeam bathymetry, to map benthic habitats and biodiversity in coastal and shelf waters of SE Tasmania (20 – 120 m depth). The AUV successfully surveyed a plethora of marine habitats and organisms, including high-relief kelp-dominated rocky reefs to mid-shelf reef and sediments that are otherwise difficult to access. The data collected using the AUV significantly improved our understanding of the distribution of benthic habitats and marine organisms in this region, with direct application to the management and conservation of these environments. For example, preliminary results identified the distributional extent of an introduced invasive marine pest, the screw-shell Maoricolpeus roseus, which was recorded adjacent to rocky reefs but is now known to also extend in high abundance across the SE shelf. The effectiveness of the AUV as a pioneering tool for undertaking spatially repeatable surveys makes it a highly versatile technique for future use in surveying remote environments, particularly with respect to surveying and monitoring biodiversity in newly established Commonwealth Marine Protected Areas. It also has application in the context of climate change, the study of invasive species, impacts of fishing activities and determining the relative uniqueness


Publication title

Proceedings of IEEE Oceans 2010


Oceans 2010






Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies



Place of publication


Event title

Oceans 2010

Event Venue

Sydney, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems

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    University Of Tasmania