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Benthic biodiversity


Distribution, species and environmental drivers of benthic biodiversity

Other Details: 

Kimberly Marine Research Program: Project 1.1.1
Location: Camden Sound, Cape Leveque, northern Kimberley
Project Leader: Andrew Heyward, AIMS
Telephone: 6369 4038

Final Reports

The full report for WAMSI project 1.1.1 is structured as a synthesis report followed by eight individual sub-project reports that focus on project design and descriptions of the distribution, abundance, and characterisation of benthic biodversity and habitats. The synthesis report provides an overview and regional perspective through summarising the key findings for each sub-project, and the broader management implications these have for the region and the State.

Benthic Biodiversity_Synthesis Report WAMSI KMRP Project 1.1.1_Heyward et al. 2018


The following sub-project reports and a Flatback Turtle Foraging Habitats report have been made available as separate documents:

1. Benthic Biodiversity_Project Design Report WAMSI KMRP subproject et al. 2018  
2. Benthic Biodiversity_Distribution and Abundance Report of WAMSI KMRP subproject Wakeford et al. 2018
3. Benthic Biodiversity_Spatial Models report of WAMSI KMRP subproject et al. 2018
4. Benthic Biodiversity_Diversity and distribution Report of WAMSI KMRP subproject et al. 2018
5. Benthic Biodiversity_Characterisation Report of WAMSI KMRP subproject et al. 2018
6. Benthic Biodiversity_Prediction of distributions Report of WAMSI KMRP subproject et al. 2018
7. Benthic Biodiversity_Habitat Associations Report of WAMSI KMRP subproject Strzelecki et al. 2018
8. Benthic Biodiversity_Shallow Coral Habitat Distributions Report of WAMSI KMRP subproject et al. 2018

Benthic Biodiversity_Flatback Turtle Foraging Habitats Report of WAMSI KMRP Project 1.1.1a_Heyward et al. 2018




  • To provide a better understanding of the regional biodiversity found throughout the Kimberley
  • To identify and characterise in finer detail the major habitat types in selected coastal areas such as Lalang Garam/Camden Sound Marine Park.
  • To identify physical and ecological features that have resulted in the patterns of habitats and biodiversity described above.

Proposed Methods

  • Plan a sampling regime based on representative sites in the Kimberley.
  • Sample seabed biodiversity during vessel based cruises that will use a combination of towed camera, sediment grabs and towed sled to collect and identify seabed plants and animals.
  • Sample nearshore areas at a finer scale using towed cameras, low tide reef walks and sediment grabs to identify seabed plants and animals.


  • A habitat map identifying the major seabed habitat types throughout the Kimberley.
  • A better understanding and appreciation of the importance of marine biodiversity in the Kimberley (including number of species and identification of species new to science and/or new to the region)
  • An improved ability to plan and manage marine protected areas in the Kimberley.


Octocoral Field Guide, Kimberley, Western Australia:

Research Articles

Richards Z T, Garcia R, Moore G, Fromont J, Kirkendale L, Bryce M, Bryce C, Hara A, Ritchie J, Gomez O, Whisson C. (2019) A tropical Australian refuge for photosymbiotic benthic faunaCoral Reefs38(4), pp.669-676

Hosie, AM, Hara, A. (2016). Description of a new species of brooding spider crab in the genus Paranaxia Rathbun, 1924 (Brachyura: Majoidea), from northern Australia and Indonesia. Zootaxa DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4127.1.6


Rare soft corals feature in Kimberley photographic field guide (WAMSI BUlletin July 2017)

What do flatback turtles in NW Australia eat? (Northwest Atlas Blog October 2016)

What’s on the menu for NW Australia’s flatback sea turtles? (AIMS Blog August 2016)

Kimberley seabed survey expected to reveal new species (WAMSI Bulletin May 2016)

Marine mapping for a North Kimberley Marine Park (WAMSI February Bulletin 2016)

The Kimberley coastline: what lies beneath? (WAMSI Bulletin February 2015)

Field report from research vessels in Camden Sound, Kimberley region (WAMSI Bulletin November 2014)



Miller K et al. Kimberley seabed biodiversity. 2017 WAMSI Research Conference (audio) Presentation slides Video: Camden Sound Solander Tow 060 hard bottom diverse ff

WAMSI Research Conference 2015 Session 3: Kimberley Node - Understanding the history and the habitats of the Kimberley Andrew Heyward, AIMS - Benthic Biodiversity (audio)  (presentation slides)  (video 1)  (Video 2)