1) Non-indigenous marine species
One of the potential threats to marine biodiversity identified in the risk assessment process undertaken for Parks Victoria was the presence of non-indigenous marine species. To date, concern with these species in Australian waters has largely focussed on ports receiving international shipping. There is however, a growing realisation that such species may subsequently be spread locally by vectors such as recreational boats. Clearly, marine protected areas valued for their diversity of native species are areas where such secondary incursions would be a major concern. Our current Linkage collaboration with Parks Victoria aims to identify the non-indigenous species currently present in Victorian ports which pose the greatest threat to park values and are also promising candidates for eradication, and the parks to which they have the highest probability of being carried. This will allow the agency to focus the limited resources available for surveillance monitoring where there is greatest potential for successful detection and eradication. Student projects associated with this collaboration include i) quantifying the detectability of selected non-indigenous marine species (PhD student Kim Millers), and ii) comparing the holdfast assemblages associated with native and non-indigenous kelps (Hons student Simon Howland).
2) Reporting the outcomes of monitoring programs
To be useful for management purposes, monitoring programs need to be focussed on relevant objectives, be statistically rigorous, and be reported in a way that managers, regulators and other stakeholders can readily understand. Identifying practical and novel ways of meeting this need is the focus of projects with the Department of Sustainability and Environment and with Parks Victoria. Following a similar theme, PhD student Prue Addison is currently investigating the applicability of new statistical methods for the analysis of marine monitoring data.