Deakin University (A/Professor Daniel Ierodiaconou) Melbourne University (A/Professor David Kennedy) and Parks Victoria (Dr Steffan Howe) received an award at the annual Victoria Coastal Council Awards Night.
The Victorian Marine Park Habitat Mapping and Monitoring Project was a joint winner in the category of Partnerships in Research and Monitoring.
The award recognises that the Monitoring Program is a state-of-the-art collaboration established in response to the lack of fundamental baseline information, inhibiting the ability to sustainably manage marine national parks.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, high resolution multibeam sonar and new methods of subtidal reef surveys with towed video and stereo baited cameras; provided an unparalleled understanding of Victoria’s open-coast marine park habitats.
The first deployment in Victoria of autonomous underwater vehicle helped bring the area of seafloor mapping to 6000 square kilometres. This mapping has been exemplary in filling major knowledge gaps in marine national parks at Wilsons Promontory, Bunurong and Port Phillip Heads, informing biodiversity monitoring and fisheries assessment.
The award recognises that the project team has made many scientific advances of global impact, placing Victoria at the forefront of marine habitat science. The project has provided Victoria with a completely new understanding of its marine parks, habitat links and the process dynamics of these critical marine environments.