Marine Habitat Mapping

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Victoria’s coastal waters are home to more than 12,000 species of plants and animals, the vast majority found only in Australia’s southern waters.

Photo: Dr Daniel Ierodiaconou, School of Life and Environmental Science, Deakin University, Warrnambool Campus

Breathtaking seafloor maps of Victoria’s coastal waters showing the type, extent and condition of unexplored habitats, such as kelp forests, sponge gardens and seagrass meadows, will significantly improve the State’s marine resource management and guide future actions to improve the quality of water draining from adjacent lands.

The project mapped a total of 13 sites, which is 5 per cent or 650 square kilometres of the Victorian coastline.

The cutting-edge technology produced an unprecedented level of detail. Three-dimensional images of the seafloor tell us exactly what’s there and the condition it’s in.

The Australian Government Natural Heritage Trust provided more than $1 million to produce the maps using sophisticated sonar technology. A further $2.5 million came from partner organisations.

 Project discoveries include previously unknown

  • Sponge gardens
  • Seagrass meadows
  • Submerged ancient river gorges
  • Lagoons and;
  • Sand dunes

 This benchmark potentially allows monitoring of:

  • The impact of catchment based management decisions on the marine environment
  • Climate change indicators. 
  • The impact of marine pest species or disaster events.

 Project Steering Committee

  • Deakin University
  • Glenelg Hopkins CMA
  • Victorian State Government
  • Australian Government
  • Parks Victoria
  • Cooperate Research Centre for Coastal Zone
  • Estuary and Waterway Management
  • A private Perth-based marine survey company
  • The Marine and Coastal Community Network