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  • This project aims to assess the vulnerability of and risks to habitats in Australian fisheries in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)/Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) of the Southern Ocean to impacts by different demersal gears - trawl, longline and traps. The project which is a collaborative initiative between the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), industry and research partners, and substantially funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, was developed in order to resolve outstanding questions relating to the potential impacts and sustainability of demersal fishing practices in the AFZ at Heard Island and the McDonald Islands (HIMI). It will also help resolve similar outstanding questions for other fisheries in the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in which Australian industry participates and provide technology for use in other fisheries to address similar questions. The proposed project will assess the degree to which demersal gears interact with and possibly damage benthic habitats. It will also assess the degree to which these habitats might be damaged within the AFZ in the HIMI region. The project is not intended to estimate rates of recovery of benthic habitats following damage by demersal gears. However, information from the literature on rates of recovery of different benthic species and habitats will be used to assess the risks of long-term sustainability of these habitats. Objectives To develop deep sea camera technologies that can be easily deployed during fishing operations, to facilitate widespread observations of demersal fishing activities (trawl, longline and trap) and their interactions with benthic environments. To assess the vulnerability of benthic communities in Sub-Antarctic (Australian AFZ) and high latitude areas of the Southern Ocean (Australian EEZ) to demersal fishing using trawls, long-lines or traps, using video and still camera technologies. To assess the risk of demersal fishing to long-term sustainability of benthic communities in these areas, based on the assessment of vulnerability and information from the literature on potential recovery of benthic species and habitats. To recommend mitigation strategies by avoidance or gear modification, where identified to be needed, and practical guidelines to minimise fishing impacts on benthic communities. Field work: Field work for this project is well advanced. Sampling of benthic habitats was conducted off East Antarctica from the AA in the summer season of 2009/10. Sampling yielded biological samples and camera footage over a number of sites spread across a large section of the East Antarctic coast and across a range of benthic habitats, however sampling was limited by the extent of ice and number of ship days (10) allocated (the project was originally planned for 16 ship days and later in the summer, when ice was predicted to be less extensive). The camera units are currently deployed on commercial vessels fishing the sub-Antarctic. The close of the 2010 commercial fishing season in September 2010 will mark the conclusion of field activities for this project.

  • With the aim of estimating the proportion of Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) in pack ice over summer, an Australian fixed-wing aerial survey programme, based in east Antarctica, was conducted in the austral summers of 2007/2008, 2008/09 and 2009/10 (See Kelly et al. 2010; SC/62/IA8). The first season (2007/08) comprised of three 'test' flights. As such, there were no real 'survey' data collected during these three flights, but video and digital stills data have been included in the dataset supplied. The surveys (2008/09 and 2009/10) covered two general regions: Vincennes Bay (66 degrees 24'S 110 degrees 18'E) which was surveyed multiple times across both seasons and within the 2009/10 season, and north and east of the Shackleton Ice Shelf and into the eastern section of the Davis Sea, which was surveyed once (2009/10). The primary focus was on Antarctic minke whales, however sightings of other species were also collected (killer whale, Southern right whale, penguins and seals). The survey was conducted in a CASA 212:400 aircraft at an altitude was 228m (750ft) and survey speed was 204 km/hr (110 knots). The survey was conducted as independent double-platform: the front and back observers were isolated visually and audibly. The aircraft was also fitted with a number of digital still, video and infrared cameras. Data Available 1. Sighting data set A .csv file of animal sightings. Two files, one for each survey season, has been supplied. The observers field of view was between 30 degrees and 60 degrees declination (approximately) from the horizon, corresponding to an on the ground area width of 264 metres each side of the aircraft. Protocol was followed as for traditional line transect surveys for marine mammals, with observers searching ahead of the aircraft in a 'D' pattern. The recorded observations consisted of cue counting (where possible) and the angle of declination when the animals were abeam to the observer (using a Suunto inclinometer). Cues were not recorded after the animals had moved past abeam. The angle of declination of groups was measured at the centre of the group. Perpendicular distance out to animals was calculated using angle of declination and flying height (but no correction for curvature of the earth or aircraft drift angle was applied). Other information recorded included species, group size (minimum, maximum and best estimate), cue type, number of animals at surface when perpendicular, direction of travel and any behavioural features of the animal(s). Please note that no formal sighting data was collected for the January 2008 test flights. 2. Effort data set A .csv file of survey effort and environmental conditions. Two files, one for each survey season, has been supplied. The flight leader recorded environmental covariates (ice coverage (to the nearest 10%), glare, Beaufort sea state, and cloud cover, etc) at regular intervals, or when conditions changed. 3. Still images The data includes jpeg files of images. A still camera was mounted vertically in the base of the aircraft to cover the trackline (10 megapixel Nikon D200 with 35mm lens); camera was situated behind a Perspex window. In addition in the final survey year (2009/10) two Nikon D300 cameras (12 megapixel with 50mm lens) were mounted at the side windows obliquely at an angle of 45 degrees (please note side-camera was used only during final season of survey, Dec 2009-Feb 2010). Focus set to infinity, and image settings given to account for high-light, high-contrast environments. GPS/altitude data was embedded in each images EXIF information. Still image coverage underneath the aircraft was uninterrupted along the trackline with a shutter-release of around 1 photograph per second and a swath width of around 157 m. Similarly the oblique mounted cameras had a coverage over 450 m each side of the trackline (i.e., configured to be approximately the same as the human observers). 4. Video cameras A number of streampix video files. Two high definition video cameras (Prosilica GC1350C GigE with 5mm F1.4 lens) were also fitted to the aircraft. Streampix is propriety software. 5. Infrared A number of .mov files recorded from an Infra-red camera (FLIR Photon 320 with 9mm lens) mounted in the base of the aircraft. Infrared camera was situated behind an infrared window. 6. Telemetry A number of text files (.txt) containing aircraft telemetry (yaw/roll etc) and gps. The telemetry is not that reliable, nor does it go anywhere close to covering all flights conducted (see below), but included for completeness. 7. Flight data 'dat' files dumped from the aircraft flight recorder containing flight data, including geographical position, velocity and altitude. These are ascii files. 8. GPS data In addition to flight and telemetry data, we've also included two post-processed GPS data files (two .csv files, one for each survey season). These files contain GPS data from a number of sources; this was to help buffer against GPS drop-outs. Therefore, this data is much more complete than the telemetry and flight data, and has been corrected for any time syncing issues. 9. "Season_overview_2010.xls" This Excel spreadsheet file contains details on each transect, effort and other sighting information. It accompanies the .csv files for the 2009/10 season as an overview. (A similar summary does not exist for 2008/09 season.)

  • Aerial photography (Linhof) of penguin colonies was acquired over the Svenner Islands (Eric Woehler). The penguin colonies were traced, then digitised (John Cox), and saved as DXF-files. Using the ArcView extension 'Register and Transform' (Tom Velthuis), the DXF-files were brought into a GIS and transformed to the appropriate islands.

  • Krill data collected from the CEAMARC-CASO voyage of the Aurora Australis during the 2007-2008 summer season. The data consist of a large number of images, plus documents detailing analysis methods and file descriptions.

  • Aerial photography (35mm film) of penguin colonies was acquired over the Steinnes Group (Eric Woehler). The penguin colonies were traced, then digitised (John Cox), and saved as DXF-files. Using the ArcView extension 'Register and Transform' (Tom Velthuis), The DXF-files were brought into a GIS and transformed to the appropriate islands.

  • Sampling strategy: Samples from trawls or sledges are sieved on the trawl deck then sorted in the wet lab per taxonomic group. Sorting may vary from high taxonomic levels (order, family) to specific ones according to expertise on board. For some taxa, sampling includes: up to 10 voucher specimens with a unique batch number; photos; tissue samples in 80% ethanol for DNA analysis (Barcoding and Phylogeny); 30 samples minimum for population genetics (for abundant species); sampling for isotopic measures; fish chromosomes preparations; primary fish cell lines and cryopreservation of fish tissues for permanent cell lines The database was intended to contain information about stations, events, gear, all material collected and associated samples listed above. currently only contains information on material collected and samples. Data was recorded on log sheets then transcribed into an Oracle database called cabo. Tailor made user interace for entering data. No export functionality. SQL database dump has been provided but there was no-one on the voyage to elaborate on the structure, this was promised post voyage along with some simple data exports to match the log sheets, so we have access to the data without the unfriendly database.

  • Underwater video samples were obtained from the Deep Underwater Camera II (DUCII) system. Data are in mpeg video format. Samples were named by: 1. CEAMARC site (e.g. 16) 2. Instrument (e.g. camera = CAM) 3. Sequence of deployments through the survey overall (e.g. first deployment = 01; second deployment = 02) e.g. 09CAM05 is the fifth camera deployment of the survey overall, and was at CEAMARC site 09. Post-cruise analyses: 15 second logging of seabed geology and biology (species, class, order, whatever is significant for the habitat) directly into GNAV software for overlay into a GIS.

  • The intention of the Deep Krill Camera and Trap System was to monitor and capture krill found during deep CTD operations. Two traps were installed on the CTD in place of Niskin Bottles. At pre-determined depths an internal light was illuminated and the traps were opened. After a set period of time a second trigger signal was sent to the traps, closing the entry point, encapsulating any Krill that were inside. The Krill Camera system was installed onto the CTD rosette. It consisted of a high-definition video camera (a GoPro Hero 2) within a pressure housing, flanked by two LED light sources. The power for this system was supplied via a rechargeable battery pack also mounted to the CTD. The camera system was remotely controlled from the surface via the CTD communications link. At specific depths the lights and camera were activated, recording the water column and ocean floor by adjusting focus length for fixed durations in an attempt to document Krill at lower depths. An additional camera was introduced into the system, mounted to allow video capture of the Krill Trap Operation. This camera was set to record at the beginning of the operations and left running for the duration of the deployment. Video data from the Krill camera is in MTS format, which can be opened with VLC Media Player. Trap footage is recorded in MP4 format, which can be opened with Quicktime or VLC Media Player. Trap triggering and camera operation data was recorded manually by Rob King.

  • This dataset was collected as part of an honours project by Jessica Wilks at Macquarie University (submitted May 2012). The samples analysed were taken from an expedition conducted by Dr Leanne Armand in 2011 as part of the KEOPS2 mission (KErguelen: compared study of the Ocean and the Plateau in Surface water). During this mission 7 locations (A3-1, A3-2, E1-3, E14W2, NPF-L, R2 and TEW) around the Kerguelen Plateau were sampled for seafloor sediment. This study involved identification of over 50 species of diatoms as part of a species assemblage/ distribution study. A photograph of each diatom encountered in this study is included in the attached plates.

  • During the 2013 Antarctic Blue Whale Voyage of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership a photogrammetric video tracking system was used to collect precise surfacing locations during encounters with some Antarctic blue whales. The photogrammetric video tracking system is described by Leaper and Gordon 2001, and enables determination of the range and bearing to tracked objects relative to the ship. During the voyage, 32 tracking sessions yielded 553 precise photogrammetric locations comprising a total of 27 tracks of blue whales. Leaper, R. and Gordon, J. 2001. Application of photogrammetric methods for locating and tracking cetacean movements at sea. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, 3: 131-141.