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The challenge

Protecting and managing biodiversity

Australia's oceans are amongst the most diverse and there are many marine habitats that are unexplored. Understanding the patterns and drivers of marine biodiversity is critical to sustain use of ocean resources and assist with conservation.

We are conducting extensive research to sustainably manage marine biodiversity, including threatened and vulnerable species like shy albatross.

With biodiversity broadly distributed across the oceans, from the surface to the seafloor, the pressures from climate change and industries on this distribution needs to be understood to support the ongoing national and international management of marine biodiversity.

Our response

Innovative science for ongoing conservation

We are providing scientific knowledge and tools to support sustainable development of Australia's marine resources, including mitigation of environmental impacts and conservation of biodiversity.

Through monitoring, spatial management, and strategic evaluation, we are:

  • Characterising, monitoring and conducting performance assessment of Marine Parks, with extensive data collection on invertebrates and fishes.
  • Informing the management of threatened and endangered species through population estimation and risk assessments for species like albatross, petrels and marine mammals and assessing the impacts of fisheries, plastics and climate change.
  • Coordinating activities at state and federal levels including providing a centre of excellence for the assessment of impacts on threatened species and their regulation and mitigation.
  • Using genetics and an innovative DNA technique called close-kin mark recapture to create breakthroughs in the assessment of species population.
  • Using state of the art analytical techniques to understand the patterns and drivers of biodiversity across benthic and pelagic marine environments.
  • Characterising, monitoring and performance assessment for marine industries including fishing, oil and gas exploration and mining.
  • Assessing the effects of climate change and variability on the distribution and abundance of biodiversity.
  • Applying advanced modelling to improve understanding of biodiversity drivers and how to best manage them.

Our research is engaging government, NGOs, international organisations, communities and research partners to enhance biodiversity assessment and manage marine ecosystem health.

Marine biodiversity case study

  • Plankton are responsible for half the air we breathe, and are critical to the marine food web. Our research into plankton tells us about the changing nature of the ocean.

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