Very few deep sea areas both in and outside of Australia have been well-sampled over large spatial and temporal scales, and a large number of species still remain undiscovered and unnamed.
Rising water temperatures and increasing carbon dioxide concentrations remain among the greatest threats to ocean ecosystems globally. This warming trend and associated ocean acidification poses a unique threat to species that use calcium carbonate to build their shells or skeletons, such as corals.
Perth Canyon is one of Australia’s subsea treasures. Yet many of its deeper reaches remained unexplored, until Falkor’s visit with a deep-diving ROV. This first survey of life in the canyon provided a baseline of deep corals, which will aid in determining the likely future impacts of warming seas and ocean acidification.
At the end of March, Falkor headed to a spectacular, isolated, coral wonder known as Scott Reef. The goals of this project were to improve techniques and algorithms for efficiently coordinating deployments of multiple exploratory vehicles so they can be left unattended to accomplish tasks like detailed seafloor mapping.
The Timor Sea expedition explored factors that affect the health of remote coral reefs and the connections between reefs. This collaborative project expands on previous research at shallower reefs, and encompasses the first ever exploration of deeper sites.