Articles

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Global populations of green (IUCN listing endangered) and hawksbill (IUCN listing critically endangered) turtles are declining due to a range of threats. Australia supports some of the largest rookeries (nesting sites) for these turtles in the Indo-Pacific. Even though they've been much studied, most data that shows where these turtles spend their time around Australia remains unpublished. Here, we set out to quantify and map the important areas that turtles use to help refine these protected areas and assist with turtle conservation management.
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The Silver Lipped Oyster, Pinctada maxima, forms the basis of a historical fishery in tropical Western Australia, estimated to be worth $A61 million in 2013. This fishery supplies pearl and mother of pearl markets through wild harvest of P. maxima stock, augmented more recently with aquaculture. Studies have shown that populations of P. maxima within the region are highly connected to one another. This raises the question of whether oysters located deeper than those safely visited by divers (beyond 30-40 metres) may help replenish stocks in shallower areas. At present, the extent to which P. maxima occurs at these depths (>40 metres) within the region near Eighty Mile Beach is poorly known.
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The North West Shoals to Shore Research Program investigated seabed habitats and their biodiversity to inform management and sustainable development of the region. Little is known about the fish found on and around the AC125. Part of the reason is that the AC125 is very deep, and thus difficult to observe. One question to ask about a habitat is how many different species of fish are found there - this is called fish species 'richness'. We explored this question for 5 study areas spread along the vast AC125 (see map below, read the full paper here).
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Little is known about what fish species call the AC125 home. Part of the reason is that the AC125 is very deep, and thus difficult to observe. To fill this gap, we conducted fish relative abundance and diversity surveys across five study Areas of the AC125 using Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS). BRUVS were deployed on and off the AC125 at a minimum distance of 500 m between each unit. A total of 204 BRUVS deployments were conducted at depths between 62.1 m and 181.4 m across each study Area from the RV Solander.
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Data is now available for download from the AIMS Long Term Monitoring Program and the Marine Monitoring Programs.
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Understanding the management and governance of Australia’s vast coastline can be complex. International, Commonwealth, State and Indigenous entities all have various roles and powers to promote the health and integrity of Australia’s marine environments.

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In partnership with the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife, Western Australian Marine Science Institution scientists on the Australian Institute of Marine Science vessel RV Solander recently spent 15 days in the field collecting data to help determine what flatback sea turtles in north-western Australia eat.
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Flatback sea turtles (Natator depressus) are endemic to northern Australia and one of only two sea turtle species that are not distributed globally (7 species in total). Nesting occurs only on tropical Australian beaches, many in NW Australia’s remote Kimberley region. Under threat from coastal development, predation from feral animals and climate change, flatbacks are listed as a vulnerable species under the WA Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and data deficient by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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See what's happening during biodiversity month in Australia's unique north west marine region.
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Bardi-Jawi Marine Rangers partner with marine scientists to research fish and coral recruitment processes in the Kimberley.
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Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO and the WA Museum continue their exploration of the tropical waters of north-west Australia’s remote Kimberley region.
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The ocean's colour is a reflection of its composition. Researchers, currently at sea, are measuring Kimberley seawater to see how accurately remote measurements (e.g. satellite imagery) reflect ocean composition.
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In a remote marine environment, dominated by gushing tides and swirling waters, diverse and unique marine communities have remained hidden until now…
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Coral reefs in north west Australia provide the perfect opportunity to study the effects of warming events in a region not heavily impacted by humans.
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Marine scientists are supercharging marine research using remote sensing technologies and increased computing power to reveal secrets from one of the most remote and pristine marine regions in Australia.
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Dr Radford explains how he uses sound to explore and map deeper 'hidden' coral reefs of the Timor Sea. It is only recently that these reefs have started to be documented. Many remain undiscovered.
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Research into Australia's north west oceanic shoals have found them to support exceptional species diversity with fish richness greater than that found on similar submerged reefs on the Great Barrier Reef.
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As part of the NERP TE project 2.3 temperature loggers were deployed at 15 sites across the Torres Strait to measure ocean temperature. The loggers regularly (every 10 minutes) measure the sea water temperature and record it in their memory. Every year or so the loggers are swapped with new loggers and the recorded data is extracted and recorded in the AIMS Real Time Data Systems database as part of the Australia wide Sea Temperature Observing System.

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This article shows a range of BRUVS footage taken on the North West Shelf of Australia, including Barracuda Shoal, Eugene McDermott, Shoal 25, Vulcan Shoal and Wave Governor Bank Shoal.

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