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


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Barrett, NS and Hill, N 2010 , 'Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) for mapping marine biodiversity in coastal and shelf waters: Implications for Marine Management' , Oceans 2010 IEEE - Sydney NSW, 24-27 May 2010 , pp. 1-6 , doi: 10.1109/OCEANSSYD.2010.5603860 .

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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 – 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.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Barrett, NS and Hill, N
Journal or Publication Title: Oceans 2010 IEEE - Sydney NSW, 24-27 May 2010
DOI / ID Number: 10.1109/OCEANSSYD.2010.5603860
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