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Ningaloo research 2006 to 2011

Posted on 28 June 2012

  • Ningaloo Atlas
  • Australian Institute of Marine Science

In 2005, $5 million of Western Australian Government funding was allocated through the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) to support management of the Ningaloo Marine Park (NMP).  Through partnership with the Ningaloo Collaboration Cluster (funded by the Wealth from Oceans Flagship), the original $5 million of State funding was leveraged into $36 million in cash and in-kind support over the period 2006 to 2011.  The combined research programs involved over a 100 scientists across multiple disciplines from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), The University of Western Australia (UWA), Curtin University of Technology (CUT), Edith Cowan University (ECU), Murdoch University (Murdoch), BHP-Billiton, and the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). 

The research program was based on information needs identified in the Management Plan for the Ningaloo Marine Park and the Muiron Islands Marine Management Area 2005-2015.  The projects were managed under two programs: WAMSI Node 3 Projects (Table 1) and Ningaloo Cluster Projects (Table 2).

Table 1.  Research projects undertaken under WAMSI Node 3.  Click on links within to access final reports.

Project title Project leader Institution
3.1 Biodiversity assessment and development of cost-effective monitoring protocols. Andrew Heyward AIMS
3.1.1 Ningaloo Reef Marine Park deepwater benthic biodiversity survey. Andrew Heyward AIMS
3.1.2 Methods of monitoring the health of benthic communities at Ningaloo. Andrew Heyward AIMS
3.1.3 Stock assessment of target invertebrates at Ningaloo Reef. Andrew Heyward AIMS
3.1.4 Population monitoring protocols for whale sharks (Rhincodon typus). Mark Meekan AIMS
3.2 Biodiversity assessment, ecosystem impacts of human usage and management strategy evaluation. Russ Babcock CSIRO
3.2.1 Diversity, abundance and habitat utilisation of sharks and rays. John Stevens CSIRO

3.2.2a Ecosystem impacts of human usage and the effectiveness of zoning for biodiversity conservation: Broad-scale fish census.

Russ Babcock CSIRO

3.2.2b Diversity, abundance and distribution of intertidal invertebrate species in the Ningaloo Marine Park.

Robert Black UWA

3.2.2c Trophic effects through herbivory at Ningaloo Reef.

Glen Hyndes ECU

3.2.2d Lagoon invertebrates final report and monitoring recommendations.

Russ Babcock CSIRO

3.2.2e Adequacy of zoning in the Ningaloo Marine Park.

Richard Pillans CSIRO
3.2.3 An evaluation of management strategies for line fishing in the Ningaloo Marine Park. Richard Little CSIRO
3.4 Characterisation of geomorphology and surficial sediments. Lindsay Collins CUT
3.4.1 Reef morphology and growth history. Lindsay Collins CUT
3.4.2 Characterisation of geomorphology and sedimentology. Lindsay Collins CUT
3.5 Characterisation and modelling of oceanographic processes in Ningaloo Reef and adjacent waters. Chari Pattiaratchi UWA
3.8 Northwest Marine Research Inventory. Chris Simpson DEC
3.10 Assessment of coastal groundwater and linkages with Ningaloo Reef. Lindsay Collins CUT


Table 2.  Research projects undertaken under the Ningaloo Cluster.  Click on links within to access final reports.

Project title Project leader Institution
1 Habitats and biodiversity of Ningaloo Reef lagoon. Andrew Heyward AIMS
1.1 Hyperspectral mapping of bathymetry and benthic cover. Merv Lynch CUT
1.2 Habitats of the Ningaloo Reef and adjacent coastal areas determined through hyperspectral imagery. Halina Kobryn Murdoch
1.3 Biodiversity and ecology of the Ningaloo Reef lagoon. Mike van Keulen Murdoch
2 Human use of Ningaloo Marine Park. Lynnath Beckley Murdoch
3 Socio-economics of tourism. Tod Jones CUT
4 Estimation and integration of socioeconomic values of human use of Ningaloo. Michael Burton UWA
5 Management strategy evaluation for the Ningaloo Region. Bill de la Mare CSIRO
5.1 Linkage and socioeconomic integration for the Ningaloo Marine Park. Bill de la Mare CSIRO
5.2 Qualitative modelling for sustainable tourism development. Jeff Dambacher CSIRO
5.3 Adaptive futures for Ningaloo. Beth Fulton CSIRO
5.4 Ningaloo client outreach. Geoff Syme CSIRO


The combined research program has generated a fundamental improvement in knowledge and understanding of the physical and biological processes of Ningaloo Reef and of the impacts and values of humans that utilise the region.  As such, a more comprehensive baseline of knowledge and data for the NMP has been established, against which future change can be measured.


For more information on the research outcomes, see Node 3 Final Summary Report and Strategic Integrated Science for the Marine State: A Synthesis of WAMSI Research 2006-2011 (attached). 


For more detailed information on the two research programs and projects within, visit WAMSI Node 3 and the Ningaloo Cluster.