Biodiversity and Threatened Species

Marine biodiversity assessment has been central to many of Aquenal’s projects, and particularly to our surveys of marine protected areas and other reserves. We have performed baseline and monitoring surveys of fish, invertebrate and algal diversity in various reserves in Australia and overseas. Our Scientific Director Dr Graham Edgar has been at the forefront of international marine park biodiversity research and leads this area of Aquenal’s work. Commonwealth, State and IUCN Red-Listed threatened species are also an integral component in any marine assessment, and we have performed numerous field surveys for threatened fish and invertebrate species, designed and implemented a relocation program for an Endangered seastar species threatened by infrastructure works, and conducted desktop assessments for threatened fish, seastar, mollusc, marine mammal, marine reptile, shorebird and algal species for impact assessment studies. …Further information

Biodivesity and Marine Park MonitoringBiodivesity and Marine Park MonitoringBiodivesity and Marine Park Monitoring

Further Information

Biodiversity and Marine Park Monitoring

Aquenal’s skills in the field of biodiversity assessment are best exemplified by our experience in marine park biodiversity baseline and monitoring surveys. Our expertise in this area is founded on the skills of our Scientific Director, Dr Graham Edgar, while other Aquenal staff have been trained in biodiversity monitoring techniques by Dr Edgar and are highly skilled at the in-situ identification of fish, invertebrates and marine flora. Biodiversity surveys involve application of standardised underwater visual transect, quadrat, baited underwater video, ROV, and netting methods to document species numbers and abundances in subtidal and intertidal habitats.

Biodiversity surveys and studies conducted to date by Aquenal for marine parks and other reserves include:

  • Baseline survey of the Marine Protected Area at the Booderee National Park, ACT, and adjacent areas in the Jervis Bay Marine Park, NSW
  • Baseline and monitoring surveys of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park, NSW
  • Marine and estuarine ecosystems in the Port Davey-Bathurst Harbour region (Tasmania): Biodiversity, threats and management options.
  • Survey of fish and invertebrate communities at the Murphys Flat Conservation Area in the Derwent Estuary, Tasmania
  • Surveys of fishes and invertebrates associated with coral reefs and coral communities in Indonesia
  • Assessment of the conservation status of threatened marine species in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, including development of appropriate monitoring indicators

Click on icons in the right panel to open selected marine biodiversity survey reports.

Dr Edgar has also conducted marine park biodiversity surveys in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Indonesia, and brings a wealth of experience to this area of Aquenal’s work through having performed over a thousand underwater transect surveys at sites around the world. He is also co-founder of the biodiversity monitoring network Reef Life Survey 2004, and author of definitive marine guides such as Australian Marine Life.

Threatened species surveys and relocation programs

Threatened species surveying and management is a growing area of Aquenal’s work. Projects conducted have been concerned with listed Commonwealth and State vertebrate (fishes, shorebirds, marine mammals, marine reptiles), invertebrate (seastars, molluscs) and flora (macroalgae) species, and have involved desktop studies, field surveys of existing populations, searches for new colonies, and design and implementation of relocation programs where applicable.

Studies performed by Aquenal are summarised below:

  • Studies of the endangered live bearing seastar Parvulastra vivipara at the site of the Sorell Bridge Replacement Project, including: a field survey to identify its distribution, abundance and population density; a detailed impact and mitigation assessment; and development and implementation of a Relocation Plan for affected sub-populations
  • Surveys for populations and habitats of the endangered spotted handfish Brachionichthys hirsutus and endangered seastar Marginaster littoralis at various locations in the Derwent Estuary, including proposed boat ramp, marina, dredging and cable installation sites
  • Surveys for populations and habitats of the endangered spotted handfish Brachionichthys hirsutus and endangered seastars Parvulastra vivipara and Marginaster littoralis at the site of the proposed Lauderdale Quay development in Ralphs Bay; studies of B. hirsutus included seasonal surveys of population numbers and size distributions, potential predators, spawning substrata and sediment quality
  • Surveys for populations and habitats of the endangered spotted handfish Brachionichthys hirsutus and vulnerable red handfish Brachionichthys politus for the Seven Mile Peninsula Strategic Land Use Study
  • Surveys for the vulnerable Gunn’s screw shell Gazameda gunnii (marine mollusc) at a range of proposed reclamation, marina, effluent outfall and marine farming sites
  • Assessment of the likely occurrence and potential impacts of a range of coastal developments on the vulnerable Australian grayling Prototroctes maraena
  • Desktop studies of threatened species biology and distribution as a component of numerous risk assessment and marine park biodiversity projects, including threatened fish, marine mammals, marine reptiles, invertebrates and flora species

Our work history also includes surveys of lakes, rivers and creeks for native threatened freshwater species, such as endangered galaxiid fish species and vulnerable lobster species, however we are now targeting our studies to focus on marine, estuarine and coastal habitats.