This dataset shows a spatial model of the distribution and relative density of dugongs (Dugong dugong) in the Torres Strait
region based on an aggregate of 19 years (1986, 1987, 1992, 1994, 1999, and 2005) of systematic aerial surveys. For more
information on the methods used in the creation of this dataset see Grech. A., and Marsh. H. (2007) - Prioritising areas
for dugong conservation in a marine protected area using a spatially explicit population model, Applied GIS, 3(2), 1-14.
All surveys were conducted in late spring or early summer when weather and sea states provide optimum survey conditions.
This data presents the results of a model of dugong distribution and abundance, based on data collected from dugong aerial
surveys, in conjunction with geostatistical techniques including universal kriging (Grech and Marsh 2007). After completing
the model, frequency analyses were conducted to categorise relative dugong density and distribution to identify areas of
low, medium or high conservation value.
The modelled abundance and distribution show the relative density of dugongs (areas where there are more or less dugongs)
and NOT the absolute dugong density as corrections for perception bias (animals that are available to, but missed by, observers)
and availability bias (animals that are unavailable to observers because of water turbidity) can only be applied at the spatial
scale of entire surveys (thousands of square kilometres), making them inappropriate for the spatial scale for this dataset.
Nonetheless, the relative densities among regions should be approximately comparable (H. Marsh, personal communication).
This dataset is being updated as part of Project 1.2 of the National Environmental Research Program.
This dataset is an estimate of relative dugong density (number / km^2) and the conservation value with a 3-point rating (high,
Note: More recent surveys were completed under the NERP program.
- Grech. A., and Marsh. H. (2007) - Prioritising areas for dugong conservation in a marine protected area using a spatially
explicit population model, Applied GIS, 3(2), 1-14
- Marsh H., and Saalfeld, W.K. (1989). Distribution and abundance of dugongs in the Northern Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Australian Wildlife Research 16:429-440.
- Marsh H., and Saalfeld, W.K. (1990). The distribution and abundance of dugongs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park south
of Cape Bedford. Australian Wildlife Research 17:511-524
- Marsh H., and Sinclair D.F. (1989). Correcting for visibility bias in strip transect aerial surveys of aquatic fauna.
Journal of Wildlife Management. 53(4): 1017-1024