Voyages of discovery

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Voyages of discovery: revealing Victoria's ocean

New video: Chance encounter whilst off the most southern point of mainland Australia

Providing research opportunities for the next generations marine scientists

What do we know about our marine environment?

We know more about the surface of Mars than we do about our coastal waters of Australia. In some areas the best information we have was collected by Matthew Flinders in 1802 when he circumnavigated Australia. What we do know is that 85% of the plants and animals found in the cool temperate waters of Australia are found no where else on Earth.
We have maps of the land - of land use, soil type, vegetation cover etc. that are critical for managing catchments and water quality in our river systems. However this level of detail is simply lost once we move beyond the coast. Understanding the marine "real-estate" such as the distribution and connectivity of habitats will not only help us in maintaining our biodiversity but will also provide critical information to help us better manage our fisheries, information to update marine charts in poorly surveyed regions and provide insights into our geological past, revealing extensions of our river systems and headlands at lower sea levels throughout geological time.

We now have the technology
Deakin University have invested in the most advanced oceanographic mapping technologies to better understand our marine coastal biodiversity. The latest generation seafloor mapping systems capable of the collection of thousands of soundings per minute will be used to develop detailed pictures of our ocean floor. This information will be combined with biological data from remotely operated vehicles to decipher patterns and distribution over large geographic areas.

Deakin research vessel Yolla with advances mapping systems

How you can help
We have the tools we require to fill these knowledge gaps, all that is needed now is public support to keep the expeditions on the water collecting a wealth of data for research scientists to analyse which will provide a baseline in the face of the effects of future climate change.
For every $500 you donate we will be able to map 1 square kilometre of seafloor in unprecedented detail. Your support will allow us to cover our fuel and mobilsation costs. Our crew will consist of researchers including habitat mappers, geologists, marine biologists and oceanographers from around Australia supported by their respective universities.
What's in it for you
Help us create better community awareness and ownership of the unique marine environment we have in our own backyard and support better understandings of these systems for future generations to enjoy. You will also have access to the amazing imagery we capture, be invited to a presentation event where we will highlight the discoveries you have made possible. At this event you will be invited aboard our "state of the art" research vessel Yolla to see the equipment in action and even have an opportunity to pilot our remotely operated vehicles.

Sonar image of sand waves on the seafloor formed by strong current movement
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Imagery from recent sonar research
Wilson's Promontory Marine National Park, the largest in Victoria, was imaged using Deakin's new sonar technology aboard Yolla over the past 2 months. The detailed seafloor pictures reveal a complex seafloor with uncharted reefs and dune systems (some 30+ meters high!) in unprecedented detail. You can also see scour marks on the seabed from the strong currents passing between the mainland and the islands offshore. This information will help us to understand how habitats are connected and prioritise sites to explore the marine life in the region.

The following image illustrates the power of sonar imaging and the detail that can be achieved. Below you can see individual boulders and faulting of a granite reef complex. To the right on the sand, the remains of the wreck Gulf of Carpentaria lost in 1885. While sailing ships and steamers had travelled through the narrow passage between Wilsons Promontory and Anser Island for thirty years, the pinnacle of rock in the main channel remained undetected until the Gulf of Carpentaria's discovery. You can clearly see the pinnacle in the image below (appearing white) that lead to the ships demise.

on 27th Jun 2013 at 2:00am. The payment portal is closed now.