GAB deep water geological and benthic ecology program

Understanding the origin, evolution and geological formation of the Great Australian Bight (GAB).
Voyage No


10 Apr, 2017


28 Apr, 2017




Chief Scientist

Dr Asrar Talukder



Voyage summary

Charter voyage to the Great Australian Bight (GAB) region to investigate the geology of the Ceduna sub-basin and survey deep water ecoystems.

While recent voyages have begun to reveal the nature and complexity of both the deep water geology and biology in this region, the continental and abyssal slopes remain poorly described.

This voyage three main objectives:

  1. Survey the seabed and outcropping sedimentary rocks to aid understanding of modern seabed erosional mechanisms, sedimentary processes and paleo-environmental reconstruction
  2. Sample benthic (seafloor) life in areas of potential seepage to determine if fluid escape is occurring, nature of the fluids and their relationship to the benthic life in these areas.
  3. Sample benthic fauna over a large geographic area to establish deep water community structure and function.

Voyage impact

Biological and geological samples were collected from 41 equipment deployments in water depths ranging between 120 m to 5,560 m, and mapping of over 8,500 km2 of seafloor was completed. This has provided new insights into the geological evolution of the GAB, including the distribution and occurrence modern day benthic fauna, and greatly increased understanding of the region.

Data and samples collected will contribute to the fundamental understandings of the origin, evolution and geological framework of the GAB. In addition, the systematic collection of some of the deepest faunal assemblages in Australian waters will inform our understanding of the deep sea ecosystems and their relationship to other deep sea faunal assemblages worldwide.

The combination of the geological and biological data collected will help inform future management decisions on oil exploration and development, commercial activities and preservation of this deep water marine environment.