Imagine gliding underwater in Moreton Bay, exploring, watching and learning about the different marine life and biodiversity below the surface, and how it coexists with people above the water. Living and Playing Together, a project supported by the Moreton Bay Foundation plans to create that experience.
Moreton Bay is a playground for humans, from boating to fishing, snorkelling, scuba-diving and whale watching during the winter months. It consists of complex ecosystems and many different habitats below the surface. It is home to fish, turtles, dugongs, sharks, rays, and in the winter months whales passing through.
Have you ever wondered what all this marine life does while in the bay? What is the daily grind below the surface and how is it affected by the activities above the surface? A project sponsored by The Moreton Bay Foundation, aims to showcase just that. Data science and technology will be used to create an interactive digital platform called ‘Living Together’ for a virtual experience of what lies beneath Moreton Bay.
The project will use underwater cameras, drones, and acoustic sensors to capture images, detect sound and gather data on life below the surface. Acoustic hydrophones will be fixed at each site to track tagged animals within Moreton Bay. Daily satellite imagery will provide images from above to visualise human activities. Six different sites will be selected in the Moreton Bay Marine Park based on habitat characteristics and whether there are seasonal recreational activities. The data and digital media collected will be used to develop the ‘Living Together’ platform which will showcase interactive maps, virtual reality underwater experiences with sound and information regarding the biodiversity within the region.
The Living Together platform will provide local communities of Quandamooka Country opportunities to increase their awareness and knowledge about what lies beneath. By visualising the behaviours of the marine life below the surface, we can manage the activities occurring above the surface accordingly.
The multidisciplinary information collected will be shared through the online tool for assisting collaborative activities for management and conservation and promoting traditional knowledge. Shared understanding of the use of Moreton Bay by wildlife and people means everyone can better enjoy living and playing together.
Living and Playing Together commences in August 2020 led by Dr Julie Vercelloni, Research Fellow at QUT, and a collaborative team consisting of Prof Kerrie Mengersen, Dr Angela Dean, Assoc Prof Kate Thompson, Prof Peter Anderson and Gavin Winter from QUT, Dr Emma Kennedy and Dr Chris Roelfsema from UQ, Dr Ross Dwyer from USC, Darren Burns from QYAC and Jodi Salmond of Reef Check Australia.