Kelps (macroalgae) are major habitat-formers in temperate systems that underpin biodiversity. Despite the significant importance of kelp forests in coastal marine systems, little is known about the processes that influence their distribution and abundances in deep (>15m) waters. The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) is a research facility within the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) that delivers rapidly and cost-effectively high resolution, accurately geo-referenced and precisely targeted benthic images to detect changes in the benthos, particularly beyond diver depths. This facility provides the baseline ecological data necessary to make quantitative inferences about the long-term effects of climatic change and anthropogenic stressors on kelp forests and on benthic assemblages in general. For more information contact Prof. Peter Steinberg or Dr Ezequiel Marzinelli.