[IIOE2-EP48] Valuing the Gascoyne Marine Park

Lead Investigator :

  1. John Keesing,CSIRO, Australia

Period of Project: 1 June 2022 - 30 June 2022 (Approx.)

Brief description of the Project:

A major survey of parts of the eastern Indian Ocean will take place aboard Australia's national research vessel the RV Investigator in 2022. Largely unexplored and one of Australia's newest marine parks, the Gascoyne Marine Park (GMP) extends from about 100 to 5500 m depth at the edge of Australia's EEZ close to longitude 110o which has already been revisited as part of the IIOE-2 with the RV Investigator. Most of the ecological knowledge in the GMP is hitherto limited to the shallow areas of the shelf along the Ningaloo Reef while the majority of the GMP covers abyssal habitats and the dramatically steep, rugged habitats that link the two. The GMP includes 200 km of mesophotic reefs to about 400 m depth along the Ningaloo reefn tract, the Ningaloo and Cloates canyons from 1000 m to 3000m depth and perpendicular to the coast (explored in 2020 with the RV Falkor) and, parallel to the coast, a steep 50-km wide transition from the Exmouth Plateau at 1000 m down the Cape Range Escarpment to the 5500 m Cuvier Abyssal Basin. The voyage will explore the biodiversity of benthic habitats and demersal fish communities of the Marine Park and adjacent areas.

Region of study:

The Gascoyne Marine Park lies west of Exmouth which is on the mid west coast of Australia. The mid point of our operations will be about 22 degrees South and 112 degrees East. Operations will extend offshore to about 110 degrees E, south to 24 degrees South and north to 21.5 degrees South.