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What we've learned

WAMSI research has made unique new discoveries, strengthened previous knowledge and developed new tools or applied existing national or global models to the Western Australian (WA) context. We have a new knowledge and enhanced understanding of the WA marine estate and its biological resources. The roles of oceanic and atmospheric forces in shaping the climate of WA and effects on key fisheries are now better understood. There has been an increase in the knowledge of ecosystem function and process in Ningaloo Marine Park and World Heritage Area.

New predictive models and decision support tools have been developed for direct application to specific locations. This knowledge and the new tools being crucial for management of marine protected areas, fisheries, tourism, marine based industries and coastal development now and in the future.

World class research has improved our understanding of natural climate variability and predictions of longer term climate change for the WA marine environment, particularly as it affects the Leeuwin Current and its influence on the life cycles of key economic and recreational species such as rock lobster.

The South West Bioregion ecosystem and the cycling of nutrients on and off the continental shelf are better understood. This is important for fisheries and marine parks planning and management. We now have a map of the wave climate regime along the South West coast that will assist in coastal infrastructure planning and development e.g. through predictions of coastal inundation under climate change scenarios.

Improved research capacity and coordination has been the hallmark of WAMSI research. The type of research completed would not have been possible through individual research institutions acting independently or through private sector investment.

The WA marine science community now has an integrated and coordinated approach to complex research issues to inform management and industry decision-making. There have been immediate benefits from the research, such as the characterisation of deep water internal waves in the Browse Basin area. This knowledge has already been applied to engineering design criteria for underwater pipelines 

WAMSI has achieved its strategic objective to a high degree through the following target outcomes:

  • Improved coordination of marine science activities in Western Australia
  • Improved understanding of the marine and estuarine ecosystems of Western Australia
  • Enhanced predictive capacity to model both natural and anthropogenic effects
  • Improved management decisions based on the outputs of the WAMSI research