Environmental research, maps and data for tropical Australia

Recent articles

  • Published on
    26 May 2022
    We used data from satellite telemetry tags attached to six species of threatened and migratory marine megafauna across three taxonomic groups (marine turtles, whales and sharks) off the coast of north-western Australia to map their areas of use. We then compiled spatial data from a range of threats and overlayed species and threat maps to assess the level of exposure of the species to threats. In doing so we can identify areas where there is high exposure of species to threats, where risk assessments can be best directed with resulting management actions if needed in order to protect these species.
  • Published on
    26 May 2022
    We use genetics to estimate how far and wide oyster larvae can disperse to assist in setting biologically relevant spatial boundaries and harvest limits for oysters.
  • Published on
    26 May 2022
    To assist in recovery of the population, spatial areas of importance to pygmy blue whales, known as Biologically Important Areas (BIA), have been identified by the Australian Government. The AIMS team and collaborators Centre for Whale Research and Curtin University set out to reduce uncertainty in identifying where important foraging areas for this species and their migration pathways and distribution exist, and the extent to which they overlap with anthropogenic activities by deploying satellite tags.
  • Published on
    26 May 2022
    Key Ecological Features (KEFs) are parts of the marine ecosystem considered to be of particular importance for either a region's biodiversity or its ecosystem function and integrity. 13 KEFs have been defined for Australia’s North-west Marine Region, including the ‘Ancient Coastline at 125m depth contour’ (AC125). The AC125 is thought to “provide areas of hard substrate and therefore may provide sites for higher diversity and enhanced species richness relative to surrounding areas of predominantly soft sediment.” Little is known about what habitats exist on the sea floor in the AC125. Part of the reason is that the AC125 is very deep, and thus difficult to observe. The North West Shoals to Shore Research Program took underwater photographs and video of the seafloor to better understand each AC125 Area within its local context.
  • Published on
    23 April 2021
    This site provides an introduction to cumulative impacts on coral reefs and outlines some of the latest research into understanding the interactive effects of these impacts and which affect different coral types the most.   

Recent datasets

Published on 9 November 2022

This dataset consists of the historical range limits and poleward-most extent of recent extralimital occurrence of 82 potential marine species’ range extensions around Australia (NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC and WA) revealed by an assessment of citizen scientists observations from Redmap, Reef Life Survey, and iNaturalist from 2013–2022.

Published on 9 November 2022

This dataset consists of seagrass shoot height and biomass assessments from an experiment which compared control plots to exclusion cage plots which prevented megaherbivore grazing. This experiment ran at two sites from September 2021 to April 2022.

Published on 8 November 2022

This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - NESP Marine and Coastal Hub scoping study: New approaches to monitoring.

Published on 27 October 2022

This dataset contains Sentinel 2 and Landsat 8 cloud free composite satellite images of the Coral Sea reef areas and some parts of the Great Barrier Reef. It also contains raw depth contours derived from the satellite imagery. This dataset was developed as the base information for mapping the boundaries of reefs and coral cays in the Coral Sea. It is likely that the satellite imagery is useful for numerous other applications. The full source code is available and can be used to apply these techniques to other locations.

Published on 1 October 2022

These maps are large (A0) printable maps of the Torres Strait broken into six overlapping regions.
These maps show satellite imagery of the region, overlaid with reef and island boundaries and
names. Not all features are named, just the more prominent features. This also includes a vector map of Ashmore Reef and Boot Reef in Coral Sea as these were used in the same discussions that these maps were developed for. The map of Ashmore Reef includes the atoll platform, reef boundaries and depth polygons for 5 m and 10 m.