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Three PhD projects were directly funded through the Great Australian Bight Research Program.

Deep water pelagic ecology revealed through acoustic and optical sensing. PhD student: Arti Verma, Curtin University

This project investigated the use of the latest acoustic technologies (multi-frequency, broadband and multibeam) coupled with optical sensors to better understand the world's largest and poorly known deep water pelagic ecosystems - the Great Australian Bight.

This project investigated the ability of the acoustic and optical methodology to resolve acoustic dominant scattering groups (crustaceans, squids, fishes, gelatinous organisms) and their abundance.

It developed and analysed co-location stereo optical imagery with multi-frequency spectra of imaged biota and apply acoustic scattering models to support the species specific resolution of fluid filled, shell and gas-bladered organisms.

Systematics, phylogenetics and biogeography of deep sea crustaceans. PhD student: Amelia Lewis, the University of Adelaide

In order to better understand the deep sea crustaceans of the Great Australian Bight region, this project looked in detail at a group of isopods or amphipods that are abundant in the Great Australian Bight.

This project included a taxonomic component that involved examining samples collected as part of the project (including cruises off Tasmania in April 2015 and the Great Australian Bight in December 2015 to collect additional material), as well as existing museum specimens. Molecular techniques were used to assess the phylogeny of the selected group.

Biogeographical comparisons were then be made with material collected from similar areas off south-east and south-west Australia to determine broader-scale relationships and potential dispersal pathways, and distribution patterns related to physio-chemical aspects of the environment.

Understanding the provenance of South Australian asphaltites and tar balls and their potential implications for the petroleum systems of the Great Australian Bight: mapping the spatial and geochemical relationships. PhD student: Alex Corrick, the Unversity of Adelaide

In order to better constrain the provenance of coastal bitumen in the Great Australian Bight region, this project assisted in surveying the accumulations of tar balls and asphaltites on the beaches of South Australia, document their geochemistry and ascertain their probable origins using oceanographic and geological models to identify those most likely to originate from offshore seeps and to provide a baseline understanding of the nature and abundance of asphaltites and tar balls on the coastline. Specifically the project integrated beach survey data on the spatial accumulations of tar on the South Australian ocean beaches with insights on their provenance established through geochemical analysis. Statistical spatial models were developed to cross-validate the data sets with oceanographic and geological models for the region.



The Great Australian Bight Research Program is a collaboration between BP, CSIRO, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the University of Adelaide, and Flinders University.