Australian Marine Parks

Case, M., Harries, S. and Miller, K. (2019). Wessel Marine Park Multibeam Survey. Report to Parks Australia.

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Background

There is very little available information on the bathymetry and benthic habitats within the North Marine Parks Network. As at November 2019, only about five per cent of the Network has been mapped at a high resolution.

We contracted the Australian Institute of Marine Science to undertake multibeam bathymetry mapping of Wessel Marine Park during a voyage from Thursday Island to Darwin on the Research Vessel Solander in February 2019. Opportunities to map parts of our marine parks while scientific research vessels like the RV Solander are in transit are one way that we are building our scientific knowledge about Australian Marine Parks.

This report details the operational aspects of the survey and provides a summary of the multibeam echo sounder (MBES) data that was acquired and processed.

Discover the results of the survey on the Australian Marine Parks Science Atlas

Project objectives

The primary objective of the survey was to undertake approximately 24 hours of MBES surveying to quantitatively map parts of the Wessel Marine Park seafloor. This will contribute to our understanding of the biodiversity values of the marine park.

We’re prioritising seafloor mapping as a key way to understand the complexity of benthic habitats in marine parks. This information helps us target where we should undertake more detailed survey methods like underwater video surveys and seafloor sampling.

Over time, this staged approach will allow us to build a detailed picture of key areas within our marine parks.