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RMIT University Storey Hall

336–348 Swanston Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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AMSA Victoria is pleased to present

Showcasing Victoria’s Marine Science

An evening of exciting and inspiring talks from some of Victoria’s leading marine scientists.

Come along and hear all about some of the amazing research happening in the Victoria’s marine environment, from penguins to pests and more...

Special thanks to RMIT University School of Science.


Wing Yan Chan: Postdoctoral Research Fellow - Melbourne University

Can we use science to change the future of our coral reefs?

Wing is a postdoctoral researcher of the University of Melbourne passionate about the ocean and coral reefs. Her research areas include coral reef restoration and conservation, coral microbiome, as well as ocean warming and acidification. Wing also loves science outreach and enjoy sharing her love of the ocean to everyone.

Ocean warming is of one of the major killers of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. About half of our corals have died during the summer heat waves in 2016 and 2017 and our ocean continues to become warmer. What can we do to preserve this national treasure? What if we can accelerate natural evolutionary processes to make corals more resilient to warming oceans? Can we use science to change the future of our coral reefs?

John A. Lewis: Principal Marine Consultant, ES Link Services Pty Ltd, Australia

Marine pests, how did they get here and what is their impact on our coastal environment?

After studying at Melbourne University, John spent most of his career at DSTO in Melbourne, working mostly on marine biofouling and its prevention. From 2007 onward he has worked as a private consultant on projects relating to biofouling impacts, antifouling technologies, invasive marine species management, and ship energy efficiency, as well as maintaining private interests in marine macroalgae.

Port Phillip Bay is infested with the Northern Pacific sea star, Asian kelp is common along the Bay’s northern shores, and more than 160 other non-indigenous marine species have been recorded in the Bay. When did they get here, how did they get here, and what is their impact on our coastal environment? Now, after several decades of close study, we have a better understanding of the vectors for species introduction and spread, the characteristics of the species that arrive, how and why they establish, and the impacts they cause. This provides insight into how marine pests are best managed, and what is needed to minimise risks and consequences.

Mariela Soto-Berelov: Postdoctoral Research Fellow - RMIT

Mapping seagrass dynamics (1930s to present) in south eastern Australia’s Port Phillip Bay

Dr Mariela Soto-Berelov is a lecturer in RMIT’s School of Science (Geospatial Sciences). She specialises in Land Use Cover Change (LUCC) science and uses remote sensing and spatial analysis to map and understand landscape scale processes that impact vegetated surfaces both on land and in water (ranging from long to short term).

Seagrass habitats provide a range of ecosystem goods and services. Mapping seagrass beds is important for detecting and understanding fluctuations in seagrass extent due to natural and anthropogenic causes. This talk summarises trends in seagrass dynamics detected over 80 years in the Port Phillip Bay. Aerial photography was used to map seagrass extent across three study sites. Several cycles of seagrass expansion and contraction were detected throughout the time series. This highlights the importance of having long-term datasets when assessing changes in seagrass extent.

Mark R. Shortis: Professor of Measurment Sciece - RMIT

Towards an automatic system for fish detection and species classification in underwater videos

Mark has been active researcher in precise measurement using imaging systems since the 1980s. He has conducted collaborative research with NASA on the structural dynamics of aerospace models, with universities in Australia, Pakistan and Germany on underwater assessment of marine fish populations and habitats, and with ANU on the characterisation of solar concentrators for energy generation. His most significant contribution has been in the development of calibration algorithms and techniques for digital cameras.

Environmental conservationists frequently estimate the relative abundance of fish species in their habitats and monitor changes in their populations. Manual sampling in underwater videos, besides being laborious, cannot scale to the thousands of hours of videos recorded on a regular basis. Computer-based, automatic fish sampling is the only viable solution to this problem. However solutions to the analysis of underwater videos face challenges due to environmental variations in luminosity, fish camouflage, dynamic backgrounds, water turbidity, low video resolution, shape deformations of swimming fish and subtle variations between some fish species. Recently, significant advances in the application of deep learning techniques such as Convolutional Neural Networks, a state-of-the-art machine learning technique used to solve generic object detection and localization problems, have achieved very high rates of candidate identification and species classification of fish in uncontrolled environments. This presentation will summarise the progress to date of the application of CNNs to the automated analysis problem.

Paul Hamer: Senior Fisheries Scientest - Victorian Fisheries Authority

"The Red Tide" Snapper migration into Port Phillip Bay

Dr Paul Hamer has over 20 years’ experience in research, monitoring and assessment of marine fisheries in Victoria. His research interests include early life-history, fish movement and population connectivity, fisheries ecology and habitat. Paul is recognised as a national expert on snapper. He is based at the Victorian Fisheries Authority, Queenscliff.

There is a great migration that occurs along our coast in spring each year, referred to by those in the know, as “The Red Tide”. This great migration is underwater, out of sight, and ends in Port Phillip Bay. It is an underappreciated natural spectacle. But for those who go fishing, many wait out the cold winter months in anticipation of what the “Red Tide” will bring to the Bay the coming spring. The “Red Tide” refers to the annual spawning migrations of large snapper (often referred to as ‘reds’). This talk will discuss what we have learnt about these migrations and why Port Phillip Bay is so important for sustaining snapper populations all the way from Wilson Promontory to Kangaroo Is in South Australia.

Sonia Sanchez Gomez: Monash University

Within-colony spatial segregation leads to foraging behaviour variation in a seabird

Originally from Barcelona, Spain, I moved to Melbourne in 2015 to do a PhD on little penguins’ foraging ecology, which I submitted three months ago. Outside university, I volunteer with BirdLife Australia’s Beach-nesting Bird Project helping with social media campaigns. I’m also a keen diver in love with Port Phillip Bay!

Seabirds breed in colonies of thousands of individuals and are central-place foragers. Previous studies have shown that high levels of competition for food can lead to spatial foraging segregation between neighbouring colonies. Nonetheless, whether this is also the case within the same colony has been overlooked. Here, I tracked little penguins from two Phillip Island sub-colonies, located only two km apart, to investigate variation in three-dimensional space use and behaviour among individuals from the same colony. Results revealed not only a strong spatial segregation between the two sub-colonies during the breeding season, but also differences in foraging behaviour and efficiency. These findings highlight the importance of understanding small-scale spatial segregation to capture foraging behaviour variation within large seabird colonies.


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RMIT University Storey Hall

336–348 Swanston Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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