Rapid Assessment of Australian MPAs using Satellite Remote Sensing
A.J. Hobday, CSIRO Marine Research
Report for Environment Australia, 2001
About the report
Protection and management of species occupying the surface waters of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is difficult because of the temporal and spatial shifts in surface environments. Understanding the physical patterns in these environments through rapid assessment of available data is important in increasing the success of management efforts. This report explores the potential for using satellite data to rapidly assess the historical environmental state at twelve commonwealth MPAs. Sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface color (SSC) data were extracted from satellite images for the periods 1991-99 and 1997-99 respectively. A description of the range and mean conditions was provided for the nine years of SST data and the three years of SSC data. Climatologies generated from these data described the seasonal signal for the surface environment. Univariate habitat definitions for the surface waters have been developed using SST and SSC measures, and the temporal and spatial description of these habitats is presented. The adequateness and representativeness of the MPAs can be evaluated by estimating the fraction of the similar surrounding habitat that is contained within each MPA. Collectively these data provide a baseline for managing and monitoring the MPAs and indicate additional regions around Australia without protected surface habitats.