Research project: Biodiversity of the Arafura Sea
- Start date:
- Department of the Environment and Heritage–Marine Division (DEH)
During May 2005, I joined a Geosciences Australia expedition on the R/V Southern Surveyor that sampled the outer shelf of the Arafura Sea. This project covered the initial collecting of samples on the cruise, their transfer to the Australian Museum, a technician to rough sort the samples and finally arranging for the collaboration of colleagues from Museum Victoria, Northern Territory Museum and the Australian Museum. This team subsequently identified the marine invertebrates, including the marine isopods (which were done by myself).
One of the major outcomes of this research was the discovery of high diversity on the outer shelf, despite the environmental variation in currents and temperature to which this area is subjected. The species accumulation curve for the region was still rising steeply at approximately 700 putative species-level taxa, indicating that the project had captured only a fraction of the available benthic diversity.
Dr George D. F. (Buz) Wilson , Principal Research Scientist