Australian Marine Parks

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Researchers have completed the aerial surveying component of a mapping project of Norfolk Island’s deep blue. 

The research team from iXblue and Tellus4D geoimaging visited Norfolk Island during November to collect high resolution aerial images of selected coastal areas of the island. This work is part of the Norfolk Island Nearshore and Coastal Habitat Mapping Project, which is funded through the Australian Government’s Our Marine Parks Grants Program.   

The detailed imagery was collected by a drone and will be combined with data collected during seafloor mapping in August. Together, these will produce high-resolution maps of the coastline and the range of habitats present in the waters around Norfolk Island.   

The Our Marine Parks Grants iXblue and Pendoley Environmental habitat mapping projects will link the onshore geology to the offshore marine habitats to develop detailed maps of the ecosystem and different habitats present in Norfolk’s waters. These maps will be made publicly available and are expected to be a great resource for the community.   

While on the island, Xblue’s Dr. Liz Johnstone and Norfolk Marine Park’s Jim Castles presented to primary and secondary students about the Norfolk Marine Park and the mapping project. The students were shown some of the interesting footage collected by underwater video cameras known as BRUVS—or Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations— which were dropped from a boat during seafloor mapping in August.   

The footage from the BRUVS is being used to document the number, abundance, and size of fish and other marine species and their associated habitat types. This helps to understand the links between the characteristics of the seafloor habitat and communities of marine species around the island.   

The school children were able to challenge the researchers’ learnings of local marine species during the “name this fish” part of the presentation!