Wed, 27 Sep 2023

Aussie scientists to survey unexplored marine parks

21 Nov 2022, 20:30 GMT+10

CANBERRA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Australia's national science agency announced on Monday it will lead the first surveys of two unexplored marine parks off the country's west coast.

A research team from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) departed over the weekend on a month-long voyage on board research vessel (RV) Investigator to study the Gascoyne and Carnarvon Canyon Marine Parks.

It marks the first scientific survey of the relatively unexplored habitats and seabed biodiversity of the parks.

Both off the northern coast of Western Australia, the parks combined cover an area of 87,000 square kilometers.

John Keesing, Chief Scientist on the voyage from the CSIRO, said the voyage would increase understanding of the complex ecosystems and help with the conservation needs of the parks.

"This is the first time we'll be exploring the Gascoyne Marine Park to depths of more than 5,000 metres, where there is little or no daylight," he said in a media release.

"We're likely to discover new species of marine animals while we collect data on the diversity of fishes and other marine invertebrates."

CSIRO researchers are joined by colleagues from Parks Australia and the Western Australian Museum.

The team will use high-tech cameras, nets and sleds to collect samples and capture images of the depths of the parks.

The Gascoyne Marine Park, established in 2013, includes foraging areas for whale sharks and part of the migratory pathway for humpback whales.

Barbara Musso, head of marine and islands parks at Parks Australia, said the park contains some of Australia's most diverse continental slope marine life.

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