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Land Sea Linkages


The role of rivers and estuaries in sustaining marine productivity in the Kimberley

Other Details: 

Kimberly Marine Research Program: Project 2.2.6
Location: Camden Sound, Buccaneer Archipelago, Collier Bay and King Sound
Project Leader: Andrew Revill, CSIRO
Telephone: (03) 6232 5222

Final Report

Terrestrial-Ocean Linkages_WAMSI KMRP Project 2.2.6_Revill et al 2017 Final


Project Summary


  • Estimate how much water flows from Kimberley rivers to the coasts
  • Estimate fluxes of organic carbon from Kimberley rivers to the coasts
  • Develop models for important river and coastal processes
  • Develop an improved understanding of relationships between river flow and coastal ecology

Proposed Methods

  • Use rainfall records and current gauging stations to estimate how much freshwater flows from major Kimberley rivers into the coastal waters each year
  • Sample river and coastal water to measure water and sediment properties to better understand what is being brought from the land, how it moves and what happens to it.
  • Develop computer models to help expand measurements to larger areas and understand linkages between different ecosystems
  • Work in collaboration/partnership with Indigenous communities in the Kimberley to help understand annual cycles and possibly to include training in sampling techniques

Project Duration 2013-2015

Fieldwork Plan

Two 10 day boat trips from King Sound to Walcott Inlet, where possible sampling estuaries and rivers along the way. The exact locations are still to be decided. Currently planned for September/October 2013 and February/March 2014


  • Estimates of the annual freshwater run-off from rivers to coasts
  • Estimates of the amount of organic matter supplied from the land to the coast and some understanding of what happens to it in the coastal zone
  • Models of what role material from the land plays in coastal ecosystems

Longer term goals beyond the life of the project

To identify information which is needed in order to develop better policies for environmental planning and management in the Kimberley

Research Articles

Jones NJ, Patten N, Krikke D, Lowe R, Waite A, Ivey G (2014) Biophysical characteristics of a morphologically-complex macrotidal tropical coastal system during a dry season. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 149: 96–108. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2014.07.01


Jones N et al. Terrestrial-Ocean Linkages: the role of rivers and estuaries in sustaining marine productivity in the Kimberley. 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) (presentation)

Zhou W, Espinosa-Gayosso A, Jones NL, Hipsey MR (2016). Numerical Study of the Wet-season Hydrodynamics of a Macrotidally forced Bay with Complex Topography: Collier Bay, Kimberley, Western Australia. 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Perth, December 2016

Hipsey M (2016) Hydrodynamic and Biogeochemical Controls on Productivity in the Kimberley Coast. Presentation to the Department of Parks and Wildlife lunch and learn session, June 2016

Revill A (2015) Terrestrial-Ocean Linkages: the role of rivers and estuaries in sustaining marine productivity in the Kimberley. WAMSI Research Conference, Perth, March 2015


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