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Deep dive on health of NSW coast

A scuba diver using a tape measure on a coral reef with kelp in the foreground

Study helps set climate change benchmarks

A team of scientists from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) are now analysing data collected during a field study to help assess the impact of climate change on the NSW coastline.

The study aims to establish the current health of marine environments so that any future changes could be accurately tracked.

DPI scientists are working through the results of the study but observations indicate that NSW coastal waters currently support healthy marine habitats.

A team of 20 scientists, DPI Fisheries compliance officers and Marine Park rangers had recorded data on the distributions, condition and diversity of marine habitats covering more than 1,000 km of NSW coastline.

Data were collected using a miniature remotely operated vehicle in combination with towed video cameras and diving surveys from areas between Tweed Heads in the north and Eden in the south.

The team observed environments including coral and rocky reefs, sponge gardens, kelp forests and urchin barrens.

The data will help track changes in the distribution of animal and plant species as climate change is predicted to see temperate marine habitats migrate further south and be replaced by tropical species from the north.

Annual monitoring studies by DPI will be combined with aquarium experiments to better understand the mechanisms of climate change on NSW marine environments.

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