Sustainable Use and Conservation of Biodiversity
Aim: Mining and petroleum industries are exploring for resources in deep seafloor environments. Lease areas are often spatially aggregated and continuous over hun- dreds to thousands of kilometres. Sustainable development of these resources re- quires an understanding of the patterns of biodiversity at similar scales, yet these data are rarely available for the deep sea. Here, we compare biodiversity metrics and assemblage composition of epibenthic megafaunal samples from deep-sea benthic habitats from the Great Australian Bight (GAB), a petroleum exploration zone off southern Australia, to similar environments off eastern Australia. Location: The Great Australian Bight (34–36°S, 129–134°E) and south-eastern (SE) and north-eastern (NE) Australian continental margins (23–42°S, 149–155°E) in depths of 1,900–5,000 m. Methods: A species–sample matrix was constructed from invertebrate and fish meg- afauna collected from beam trawl samples across regions at lower bathyal (1,900– 3,200 m) and abyssal (>3,200 m) depths, and analysed using multivariate, rarefaction and model-based statistics. We modelled rank abundance distributions (RAD) against environmental factors to identify drivers of abundance, richness and evenness. Results: Multivariate analyses showed regional and bathymetric assemblage struc- ture across the region. There was an almost complete turnover of sponge fauna between the GAB and SE. SE samples had the highest total faunal abundance and species richness. RAD models linked total abundance and species richness to levels of carbon flux. Evenness was associated with seasonality of net primary production. Conclusions: Significant assemblage structure at regional scales is reported for the first time at lower bathyal and abyssal depths in the southern Indo-Pacific region along latitudinal and longitudinal gradients. The GAB fauna was distinct from other studied areas. Relatively high species richness, previously reported from the GAB continental shelf, did not occur at lower bathyal or abyssal depths. Instead, the abun- dance, richness and evenness of the benthic fauna are linked to surface primary pro- duction, which is elevated off SE Australia.
See Related Resources
Organisations and Initiatives
The following organisations and initiatives are leaders in the field of Sustainable Use and Conservation of Biodiversity. They have provided content, experts, and more to BES-Net. To learn more about a particular organization and the work they are doing click below.
Search or browse through our library of existing resources on Sustainable Use and Conservation of Biodiversity. Entries include scientific articles, reports, policy briefs, webinars, videos, and more. To view a particular resource, click below.
These individuals are experts in the field of Sustainable Use and Conservation of Biodiversity. BES-Net experts come from a wide range of sectors, from community activists to research scientists. They are available to answer questions, respond to polls, and engage in conversation with BES-Net users on their area of expertise. To learn more about an expert and their work, or get in touch with them, click below.