Western Australia's Underwater Marvels Revealed with New Technology

Western Australia's Underwater Marvels Revealed with New Technology

Save Our Marine Life, an alliance of leading environmental groups, and University of Western Australia scientists, today released a new video that captures the amazing marine life of the relatively unknown underwater canyons and submerged mountain ranges of Western Australia's southern waters.

The four-minute online video, “A Tour of Australia's South West Marine Region,” uses a combination of innovative technologies to reveal what lies beneath the waves. Blending Google Earth imagery, geomorphology (the study of landforms and landscapes), and underwater footage from the Centre for Marine Futures at the University of Western Australia, the video takes viewers on a tour of the country's unique South West marine region, where up to 90 percent of species are found nowhere else on Earth.

“Australia's South West's underwater landscapes and marine life are extraordinary, but too little of it is protected,” said Michelle Grady, marine manager at the Pew Environment Group, a member of Save Our Marine Life. “This online video will both entertain and educate the public about the importance of protecting this remarkable place by creating large marine sanctuaries. With a higher proportion of unique species than the world famous Great Barrier Reef, it is crucial that the Australian government act now to safeguard marine life.”

The video includes the following highlights:

The Houtman-Abrolhos Islands, an incredible meeting place for tropical and cold water marine life;
The Perth Canyon, larger than the Grand Canyon, is Australia's largest underwater canyon and one of only two places near Australia where the endangered Blue Whale is known to feed;
The Naturaliste Plateau (off Margaret River), Australia's “Atlantis,” a massive island under the sea, thought to host unique marine life yet to be discovered;
The Diamantina Fracture Zone, home to towering underwater mountains rising 5 km in height from the seabed, it is Australia's deepest and most mysterious area of ocean.

“This online video provides a valuable glimpse into the South West marine region, home to nationally and internationally significant ecosystems and marine life,” said Professor Jessica Meeuwig, Director of the Centre for Marine Futures, University of Western Australia. “It is vital that this area is protected so that we are able to increase our knowledge and understanding of the habitats and organisms that lie otherwise hidden beneath the surface of the ocean.”