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Australian Institute of Marine Science
The Australian Institute of Marine Science carries out several research programs under the WAMSI umbrella.
Most of AIMS’ activities supported by WAMSI involve Ningaloo Reef.
In Node 3, these include detailed mapping of seabed habitats and marine life in State and Commonwealth waters to assess the performance of marine conservation measures including the no-fishing sanctuary zones created under Western Australian legislation. This includes baseline surveys of marine plants and animals in the Ningaloo Lagoon and the design of long-term monitoring programs that will be conducted by staff from the WA Department of Environment and Conservation. It also includes surveys and assessments of the status of populations of exploited invertebrates such as crayfish and octopus.
In Node 2, AIMS is down-scaling oceanic transfers from the Leeuwin Current in order to predict the impacts of future climate change upon ecosystems in the Ningaloo Reef Tract.
Another program is the WA Marine Bioresources Library, which operates statewide to collect and store marine biodiversity for the discovery of novel chemicals (Node 5). This work is in collaboration with the Western Australian Museum, the University of Western Australia and several Perth-based research institutes. Valuable marine compounds with potential anti-cancer properties are already represented in the collections, along with others with potential industrial applications.
In the far north, AIMS is surveying and mapping key marine habitats along the Kimberley coastline to support a possible extension of WAMSI. It is tracking the annual migrations of whale sharks from seasonal aggregations at Ningaloo Reef to distant locations in the Indian Ocean and Asian seas.
It is also reconstructing the recent climate history of northern Western Australia by analysing the skeletal records of massive corals that can live for more than a 1,000 years and capture records of past sea temperatures, rainfall, cyclones and dust storms.
Finally, AIMS researches the diversity and function of marine microbes which control all major geochemical cycles and life processes.
Murdoch University is a world leader in marine research.
Murdoch’s marine scientists carry out extensive and groundbreaking research into estuarine and marine invertebrates, fish species, dolphin and whaleshark population ecology and dynamics throughout temperate and tropical Western Australia.
They have also developed approaches to predict whether the investigate whether the spatial distribution of coastal habitats and environmental variables can be used to predict the fish and invertebrate assemblages found in estuaries and coastal waters.
Murdoch researchers work collaboratively with many State, national and international organisations to evaluate the status of and conserve marine life. The University has a Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research that also includes research on species of conservation significance such as dolphins and whales, whale sharks, sea birds and turtles.
In a world first, the university’s researchers are using hyperspectral mapping of the Ningaloo Reef to characterise the habitats of this system as well as characterising the reef’s spatial and temporal distribution of human usage. Murdoch University is one of 16 parties in the Western Australian Marine Science Institution. Murdoch offers a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Honours in Marine Science.
Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) WA
The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has the lead responsibility for protecting and conserving the State’s environment on behalf of the people of Western Australia.
This includes managing the State’s precious national parks, marine parks, conservation parks, State forests and timber reserves, nature reserves, marine nature reserves and marine management areas.
The department manages more than 1.2 million hectares of marine parks and 132,000 hectares of marine nature reserves for conservation and recreation, with areas zoned for commercial fishing on a sustained yield basis. The Marine Science Program was established in 2006 and represents the department in its role as the lead agency for the WAMSI Node 3 research program, which focuses on improving our scientific knowledge base to support marine conservation and management. The science plan for Node 3 will address key research questions to improve our understanding and management of the Ningaloo Marine Park.
The department also develops recovery plans to protect threatened marine species and communities, and wildlife management programs to protect exploited marine wildlife.
Department of Commerce (WA)
The Department of Commerce works with the community to ensure high standards of safety and protection for workers and consumers, and promotes and fosters innovative industries, science and enterprise.
The department comprises seven divisions: Consumer Protection; Energy Safety; Labour Relations; Science, Innovation and Business; WorkSafe; Corporate Services and the Office of the Director General.
The Science, Innovation and Business Division aims to encourage, promote, facilitate and assist the development of science, technology and industry in Western Australia.
The division encourages new business development to diversify the State’s economic base; supports the research and innovation environment in WA; and promotes science and technology as a major driver of economic, social and environmental growth and development.
The division implements Government initiatives to commercialise innovative ideas.
The University of Western Australia
Founded in 1911, The University of Western Australia is one of Australia’s finest.
As it strives for international excellence, it aspires to be among the world’s top 50 universities by 2050.
UWA is a dynamic, comprehensive University where research and higher degree programs underpin and inform undergraduate teaching.
It is one of Australia’s leading research universities – a member of the Group of Eight Research Universities – and has built an international reputation for excellence and enterprise.
Its undergraduate students are of the highest academic quality of any Australian university. As well as having access to one of the country’s best learning environments, its students are connected to the international world of knowledge through the University’s strategic global networks.
Its graduates are leaders in all fields of endeavour at home and abroad and the University aims to continue to play a vital role in scholarship and discovery of global significance.
Western Australian Museum
The Western Australian Museum is the State’s premier cultural organisation, housing WA’s scientific and cultural collection. Since opening in 1891 the Museum has made major contributions to the collection, conservation and research of the State’s natural and social history, maritime heritage and the cultural heritage of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. The Museum presently houses more than four million objects in its collections.
The Western Australian Museum has eight public sites throughout the State including; Albany, Fremantle History, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Maritime, Perth, Shipwreck Galleries and Samson House.
ChemCentre is the leading analytical chemistry facility in Western Australia. It offers clients complete analytical solutions, utilising well-established expertise and state-of-the-art instrumentation to solve a range of complex and routine problems.
Established in the 1890s and recognised as a statutory authority in 2007, ChemCentre is highly experienced in providing the knowledge and solutions to support a diverse range of sectors and industries – locally, nationally and internationally.
Supporting the sustainable management of marine and industrial resources is a key focus for ChemCentre. Expert knowledge and structural methodologies for best practice are aligned to optimise and sustainably continue the development of communities throughout Australia.
ChemCentre is proud of its partnership with WAMSI and ongoing contribution to marine resource development, public health and ecosystem conservation.
Edith Cowan University
Edith Cowan University (ECU) is a large multi-campus institution serving communities in Western Australia and a significant cohort of international students. Awarded university status in 1991, ECU has since developed innovative and practical courses across a wide range of disciplines, established a vibrant research culture and attracted a growing range of quality research partners and researchers, many working at the cutting edge of their fields.
ECU has more than 21,000 students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Approximately 4,000 of these are international onshore and offshore students originating from around 91 countries. ECU works closely with private and public sector organisations, locally and overseas, in designing its study programs. Research is undertaken in collaboration with industry, particularly the service industries and professions.
The University is a market leader in education for the service professions and prides itself on producing graduates who can hit the ground running in today’s globalised workplace.
CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship
CSIRO is Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.
To address the importance of our oceans to Australia, and our place in the global ocean, CSIRO initiated the Wealth from Oceans Flagship as one of the original six National Research Flagships established in 2003 to tackle the biggest challenges facing Australia.
The Wealth from Oceans Flagship provides science and technology to support delivery of the full potential of economic, environmental and social wealth the nation can derive from understanding and using our oceans.
The Flagship concentrates on national challenges where oceans play a central role. It encompasses the work of more than 500 scientists, from climatologists, biodiversity experts, statisticians and oceanographers to socio-economists, fisheries scientists, petroleum engineers and software developers.
We collaborate with a range of research, government and industry organisations, including 19 university partners funded through the Flagship Collaboration Fund.
Our research focuses on:
• creating and exploiting knowledge of ocean variability and change
• delivering transformational technologies to new and existing ocean-based industries that contribute to Australia’s economy and lower emissions
• providing systems to measure and predict the state of our coasts nationally
• ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of Australia’s ocean ecosystems and living resources
• developing tools and methods to enable understanding, measurement, prediction and management of competing uses of Australia’s coastal and ocean environments.
Western Australia’s Department of Fisheries
The Department of Fisheries is responsible for the conservation of most marine and freshwater species in Western Australia, and the protection of their habitats and food chains.
It also has responsibility for ensuring the use of aquatic species is undertaken in a sustainable manner and provides optimum economic, social and other benefits to the Western Australian community – both now and in the future.
The Department’s responsibilities cover protection and sustainable use of aquatic resources and habitats within WA freshwater systems and coastal waters (three nautical miles from the shore). Uniquely, it also has management responsibilities within Australian waters out to 200 nautical miles from the WA coast. This allows for management on a spatial scale that is appropriate to aquatic species life cycles, and marine planning and conservation.
The Department operates within the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) through the objects of its primary enabling legislation – the Fish Resources Management Act 1994. This approach includes managing human impacts on target species, by-catch species and habitats, plus any potential indirect impacts of fishing and aquaculture activities on the broader ecosystem. It also includes managing social and economic impacts of fishing and aquaculture activity.
The Department works in the present-day context of limited fish and environmental resources, and a growing human ‘footprint’ on the aquatic environment. Factors with increasing impact include an increasing population, developing coastal infrastructure, rapidly advancing ‘fish finding’ technology and climate change.
It works in a social and political context that has endorsed and supported the development of science-driven, sophisticated and highly-regulated fisheries management systems for over 40 years. These management systems establish firm controls on the total level of commercial and recreational fishing that can occur.
Today, around 80 per cent of WA’s marine waters are protected by closures or controls on fishing methods that can impact directly on marine habitats (for example, trawling) and are totally closed to highly-destructive fishing methods (for example, dredging and explosives). A strong compliance culture within the Department provides the enforcement to support these controls.
It operates in a context of increasing aquatic management accountability. This includes accountability to the Commonwealth government through reporting
requirements established under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and accountability through international certification mechanisms such as the Marine Stewardship Council.
This approach is not possible without strong engagement with stakeholders, so the Department operates with an emphasis on real consultation and partnerships to develop management practices able to stand-up to domestic, national and international scrutiny.
For further information please visit our website at: www.fish.wa.gov.au
Western Australian Global Ocean Observing System
The Western Australian Global Ocean Observing System is a quality organisation operating under the UNESCO IOC principals whereby organisations support and encourage the development of ocean observing systems and operational oceanography for the benefit of all people, both nationally and internationally.
Ocean and environmental consultant Ray Steedman, Chairman of UNESCO/IOC and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering, is the WAGOOS contact in WA.