The Science behind Explore the Seafloor

Kelp beds create a beautiful home for a huge number of different marine species.  Sea urchins are just one of the fascinating creatures that can live in them. Find out more about sea urchins, kelp and the robotic vehicles used to photograph them in this series of stories and photo galleries.

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Kelp and urchin identification

PHOTO GALLERY | Take a look at what you can expect to see in the photos of the seafloor. You can refer to these images at any time if you need help with identifying sea urchins or marking kelp on the seafloor images.

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Seaweed - art meets science

PHOTO GALLERY | These gorgeous images, by photographer Ian Wallace,  illustrate the beauty of an environment that most people will never see.

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Sea urchins & biodiversity

Go snorkelling or diving off most of the coast of southern Australia and you’ll hopefully find a world of undulating seaweed beds rich in marine life. Or you may find yourself floating over an ‘urchin barren’ – a starkly different place.

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The importance of kelp forests

These forests are awash with marine life and are important ecologically and economically.  They also happen to be in a global hotspot as parts of the oceans around Australia are warming at four times the global average.

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Collecting the seafloor photos

PHOTO GALLERY | Take a look at the AUVs - autonomated underwater vehicles – that scientists are using to photograph the seafloor.   Warning:  it might make you want to become a marine scientist!

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The Science Team

Meet some of the research scientists involved with Explore the Seafloor.

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Kelp forests

PHOTO GALLERY | Kelp forests are beautiful to dive or snorkel over, as shown in these photos taken by some of the scientists involved in Explore the Seafloor. Watch out for the giant cuttlefish and sea-lions.

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Help with Kelp

Kelp beds along Australia’s east and west coasts are an important marine habitat. How are they being affected by warming oceans?

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Spot Sea Urchins

In a fantastic effort by citizen scientists all the sea urchin photos have been identified.  We still need more help with the kelp images though!

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