Southern Bottletail Squid
Image: Julian Finn
Source: Museum Victoria
An innovative online resource will provide information on the array of marine animals that call Port Phillip Bay home.
The Taxonomic Toolkit for Marine Life of Port Phillip Bay is the most comprehensive reference tool to date for understanding the rich marine life of Port Phillip Bay. Providing information, data and images, the toolkit has been designed to support the work of the many marine scientists, researchers and environmental managers working on the bay's unique marine environments and to gain a better understanding of the species that inhabit Port Phillip Bay.
"Museum Victoria has thousands of important reference specimens in its natural science collections – these are the result of more than 150 years of research activity in the bay," said Dr Mark Norman, Head of Sciences at Museum Victoria. "We have used this legacy to pull together detailed information about the bay's fishes, invertebrates, marine mammals and birds.
"We've utilised the knowledge in our marine sciences department to compile and validate this data in a dynamic online format that includes animal images and video. This is a powerful and exciting new virtual reference library of bay species – including their distribution, taxonomy and biology."
Dr Norman hopes that the reference tool is not used only by scientists but that students and the general public are encouraged to explore it as well. "If you head out to the bay and see interesting animals, the website will assist in identifying species and provide information about them," he said.
Supported by the Seagrass and Reefs Program of the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), the new tool will lend significant assistance to research and conservation efforts by providing a user-friendly and long-term resource for animal identification, fieldwork and analysis.
"The Seagrass and Reef Program will result in new information about what's under the water in the bay, helping to improve the management of marine environments," said DSE Marine Biodiversity Policy Officer Stephanie Spry. "This tool is part of a suite of research projects which will, over four years, investigate the likely responses of seagrass and reef habitats to environmental challenges."
The Seagrass and Reef Program for Port Phillip Bay is a $5.5 million investment in Victoria's marine science and management. This is one of the most comprehensive investments into marine science and research in Victoria.
Victoria's marine environments are home to more than 12,000 known marine animals and plants, many of which exist only in these southern and south-eastern waters. At the same time, Port Phillip Bay is Australia's most intensively used coastal water body, estimated to attract more than 40 million human visitors annually.
The Taxonomic Toolkit for Marine Life of Port Phillip Bay can be accessed via http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au/
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