Project: Smith Bay, Kangaroo Island

Objectives

Background

The marine environment of the north coast of Kangaroo Island has been relatively lightly studied to date. Smith Bay, the site of a proposed port, is of particular interest as it is frequented by whales and dolphins, including the endangered southern right whale (Eubalaena australis).

Smith Bay and indeed, the entire north coast of Kangaroo Island, forms part of the wider Great Southern Reef (GSR) spanning the entire southern coastline of the Australian continent. The GSR is one of the most pristine and unique temperate reefs in the world and has been recognised as Mission Blue's newest hope spot in recognition of the reefs exquisite, raw beauty and immensely rich biodiversity. KI is unique in that it sits at the confluence of two oceanographic systems providing unique habitat that supports an abundance of marine species, many of which have high conservation value. From leafy sea dragons, to pods of 100 dolphins and large coral colonies that have existed for hundreds of years, KI has provided an important refuge for many vulnerable species whose numbers have declined significantly elsewhere.

Three marine life surveys of Smith Bay were conducted over the summer of 2018/2019 culminating in the publication of the Smith Bay Marine Ecology Report.

Passive Acoustic Monitoring

In partnership with Kangaroo Island Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch, we're monitoring Cetacean activity on the north coast. Whales and dolphins spend most of their time under the surface of the water communicating through sound which makes visual monitoring methods on the surface challanging. Through passive acoustic monitoring we can gain important insights into behaviours, movements and population dynamics of these incredible creatures.

Future Projects

We plan to deploy a rig with a live-streaming underwater camera near a rare large temperate coral we discovered in Smith Bay.

Partner

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