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University of Western Australia: Port Coogee Artificial Reef Surveys

The project will collect baseline data on fish, invertebrate, macroalgae and seagrass communities, before installation of an artificial reef at Port Coogee, Western Australia. By conducting surveys at the reef installation site and at suitable nearby control sites, the study will enable assessment of change to these ecological communities over time. To maximize the value of the artificial reef to supporting marine biodiversity, the area encompassing the reef is to be designated a no-take sanctuary and boating exclusion zone.

The project will collect baseline data that will later enable an assessment of change in marine ecological communities due to the installation of an artificial reef.

To permit a test for changes in marine flora and fauna due to the addition of the artificial reef, sampling will occur prior to installation of the reef in June 2016 (baseline surveys), a few months post-installation (July/August 2016) and on an annual basis thereafter (March-April). On each sampling occasion, four locations will be surveyed; 1) breakwater, 2) reef, 3) Omeo wreck, and 4) the bay.

Monitoring will occur for the following groups: fish, macroinvertebrates, sessile invertebrates, macroalgae and seagrass. Fish will be surveyed using state of the art, lightweight remote underwater stereo-video systems (stereo-RUVs). Invertebrate, macroalgae and seagrass communities will be counted within quadrants (1 m x 1 m) at each location.

The Marine Ecology Research team have extensive experience in conducting marine ecological surveys of this nature. We have pioneered and are in the top-echelon worldwide for the use of remote underwater stereo-video systems.

With a no-take sanctuary zone being established to encompass the artificial reef and nearby habitats, the site has great conservation value for the establishment and protection of diverse marine ecological communities.

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