Dr. Nerida Wilson, of the Western Australian Museum, and her team will bring ROV SuBastian to Cape Range and Cloates Canyons in order to identify and characterize the benthic biodiversity. 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. The team will complement ROV surveys using environmental genetics (eDNA), as well as expanding mapping in the region.
Major patterns of marine biodiversity appear to be strongly related to temperature, so exploring marine areas near known terrestrial hotspots offers an effective strategy for identifying undiscovered biodiversity. In a country where there are little opportunities to explore the deep sea with a dedicated science ROV, this expedition will have a major impact in understanding this deep sea region.