Chlorophyll-a can be estimated at continuous broad scales in the top layers of the ocean via satellite imagery (note this is different from chlorophyll-a in sediments). High primary productivity tends to promote low species richness and high evenness due to the ability of a few species to monopolise resources under ambient conditions (Snelgrove 2001, Hillebrand et al. 2007). Corresponding benthic communities are dominated by the taxa best able to use the associated products or withstand periods of anoxia imposed by excess organic input (Dell'Anno et al. 2002). In contrast, most of Australia’s continental shelf, including the North and North-West, is considered oligotrophic and supports low biomass assemblages with high species richness, including a large proportion of endemic taxa (Butler et al. 2010). Notable exceptions are coral reefs for which symbiosis between coral and zooxanthellae enables higher productivity than would otherwise occur, and coastal areas near rivers due to nutrient discharge.

Use the interactive map below to explore how chlorophyll-a concentrations vary around Australia's coastline.  

How to use the map

 Click on this icon at the top left of the map to see a full screen version and legend.

   Click on this icon also at the top left of the map to zoom in closer to (+ ) or further from (-) the map.



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