UVNSW groups currently use two monitoring and assessment protocols, thus ensuring that a standardised set of methodologies are used by all groups conducting similar activities, thereby enabling comparisons between geographic areas to be made. For example an assessment and comparison of marine debris loads between the north coast, mid-north coast, and south coast of NSW can be conducted.
- Marine Debris Surveys - The protocol was developed to aid interested volunteer groups who have identified that there is a problem in their local area. It provides a mechanism for the collection of meaningful information on marine debris in a standardised manner. The protocol aims to scientifically quantify the composition of marine debris and also provide clues as to its sources. If survey sites are drawn from a random sample of coastal areas, data generated are suitable for scientifically valid analyses of trends in debris prevalence, across regions and through time. The data may also be suitable for assessing the effectiveness of targeted source reduction programs.
- Fish Inventories - Predictions for climate-induced change in fish communities in temperate waters include the likelihood of significant range shifts by 2030. On a statewide scale tropical species will become resident throughout the year in southern NSW waters, with present resident southern species shifting southwards, driven by sea surface temperature warming, change or strengthening of East Australian current, habitat losses and gains. Thus, species distributions will shift south to match preferred temperature ranges with the southern range limits of low-latitude tropical species expanding. The protocol enables groups to generate representative fish species lists and provide frequency of occurrence as well as relative abundance data.