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Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) for mapping marine biodiversity in coastal and shelf waters: Implications for Marine Management

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-26, 11:14 authored by Barrett, NS, Hill, N
Abstract- 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 ‚Äö- 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 and/or representativeness of these marine environments.


Publication title

Oceans 2010 IEEE - Sydney NSW, 24-27 May 2010



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  • Published

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Copyright 2010 IEEE.Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.

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