Introduction and background

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) Marine Biodiversity Hub invite you to take part in a questionnaire about pelagic sampling platforms. We are seeking input from scientists, technicians, engineers, students, consultants and managers to gauge their use and perceptions of various marine sampling instruments and methods. This information will support the development of appropriate field manuals and standard operating procedures for marine monitoring as part of a national NESP project (Project D2 - Analysis methods and software to support Standard Operating Procedures for survey design, condition assessment and trend detection).
In an era of unprecedented concern about global biodiversity loss, marine researchers, managers and policy advisors constrained by both diminishing budgets and rising pressures to build accountability must now more than ever design monitoring programmes that are not only robust but also cost-effective. A vast number of modern tools are available for surveying ocean habitats and wildlife, however choosing among them can be difficult as most differ widely in costs, accessibility, capabilities, mobilisation constraints, resolution or sensitivity, and are evolving rapidly without always being critically evaluated or compared.

In response to this, scientists from the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme Marine Biodiversity Hub - Project D2 are undertaking a detailed comparative assessment of sampling platforms used in marine monitoring applications. The work aims to guide the development of standard operating procedures that can support the collection of consistent, comparable, interpretable and fit-for-purpose empirical evidence for assessing status and trends in ocean ecosystems.

Examples of pelagic platforms considered in this survey.

Key to achieving this objective is a fundamental understanding of the current patterns of use, perceptions, and awareness of various sampling gears. In capturing these, the following questionnaire aims to determine common motivations for, or obstacles to, selecting given platforms. We also aim to highlight potential synergies and variation between institutions, programmes, regions or time periods that can inform future standardization strategies.

What will I be asked to do?
Completing the survey will take approximately 15 minutes.

The questions relate to respondents’ marine survey experience, equipment use, and perceptions. Note that our focus here is on pelagic sampling/monitoring, meaning that benthic methods (e.g. sleds, bottom trawls, sediment grabs etc.) will not be considered. A list of relevant pelagic platforms has been established from a review of the published literature and consultation with experts, however you will be given the opportunity to provide information relating to any other platform that may not be listed.

Your participation is entirely voluntary, and you are free to withdraw by stopping at any time. If you decide to withdraw from the survey, any responses you have provided up to that point will be deleted. You may also skip any question you do not want to answer.

How will the results of the study be used?

All information collected through the survey will be anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself, in which case your identity will only be available to the project leaders. Data will be aggregated to ensure participants are not identifiable. Results from the questionnaire will inform the completion of NESP Project D2 and provide focus for the production of standard operating procedures and field manuals for selected sampling platforms.

Results may be released in NESP publications and will also be available to participants upon request.

Whom do I contact about this questionnaire?
Questions can be directed to the Project Leaders Dr. Rachel Przeslawski (Geoscience Australia) and Dr. Scott Foster (CSIRO) and/or survey coordinator Dr. Phil Bouchet (University of Western Australia)

This study has been approved by CSIRO’s Social Science Human Research Ethics Committee, in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007). Any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this study can be raised with the Manager of Social Responsibility and Ethics on (+61) (07) 3833 5693 or by email at

If you consent to take part in this questionnaire, please click Next.

3% of survey complete.