Australian Marine Parks

South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences) for 2003-2011 National Parks and Wildlife South Australia and the Australia Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003-2011.


Benthic protection zone cover

About the reports

The reports are an assessment of the performance of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters), focusing on the Park’s Benthic Protection Zone.

During 2002 a team of scientists from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) reviewed scientific (Download 1: Literature review) and fisheries management (Download 2: Monitoring sustainable use) publications for the Great Australian Bight region.

The team also collected 1000s of seabed species (mostly sponges, sea squirts and lace corals) from sites in and near the Park over three surveys in 2002, 2006 and 2010 (Download 3: Pilot study for performance assessment; Download 4: Infaunal assemblages of the eastern Great Australian Bight; Download 5: Performance Assessment of the Great Australian bight Marine Park – Epifauna; Download 6: A preliminary assessment of the deepwater benthic communities of the Great Australian Bight Marine Park).

The Park appears to be well placed to achieve its aims of representing and protecting the biodiversity of the Great Australian Bight, in that the Benthic Protection Zone is well sited to represent the region’s continental shelf seabed communities.

In addition, significantly more seabed species were collected inside the Park than outside.

The Great Australian Bight has an unusually high preponderance and diversity of suspension feeders (organisms that obtain their food mainly from the water), which may reflect the coarseness of the sediments, the lack of terrestrial runoff, and the high plankton concentrations due to seasonal upwelling.

This work was partly funded by the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust.