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Biogeochemical processes


Biogeochemical processes supporting productivity of Kimberley coastal waters

Other Details: 

Kimberly Marine Research Program: Project 2.2.2
Location: Camden Sound and King Sound
Project Leader: Matt Hipsey, UWA
Telephone: 6488 3186

Final Report

Biogeochemical Processes Report WAMSI KMRP Project 2.2.2_Hipsey et al 2017_FINAL

Project Summary Update

Project Aims

  • Study primary productivity of phytoplankton (algae presence and growth) in open water
  • Study nutrient cycles and food webs
  • Describe phytoplankton and zooplankton communities in coastal waters of the Kimberley
  • Describe links between physical and biological processes in the region

Project Methods

  • Samples collected using nets towed behind boat to collect plankton and water samples
  • Stable isotope analysis of the samples to see what part of the food web they belong to
  • Two research surveys on the RV Solander (wet and dry season) will collect samples
  • Other measurements of physical water properties will be made e.g. turbidity and total suspended solids (TSS)

Proposed location for the project

Collier Bay

Project duration July2013-December 2015


  • Descriptions of plankton community composition, biomass and biodiversity in Kimberley shelf, coastal and estuarine habitats
  • Understanding of relative importance of riverine nutrient and organic matter inputs vs oceanic nutrients in controlling regional phytoplankton (algae) production
  • Understanding of food web structure and function
  • Models  linking the physical  processes of nutrient  cycling to  biological production of phytoplankton and zooplankton

Longer term goals beyond the life of the project

Understand the nutrient cycles and in-water food pathways in the Kimberley and model these, including factors such as climate change.


Hipsey M. Biogeochemistry. 2017 WAMSI Research Conference (video of presentation)

WAMSI Lunch and Learn Seminar: The flow of energy through the Kimberley coastal system – from the land to the deep sea (background)


News stories

Kimberley coastal system: links from the land to the deep sea (WAMSI June 2016)

Project links

2.2.1 Oceanographic dynamics

2.2.2 Biogeochemical processes

2.2.6 Land-ocean linkages