Foundation WAMSI Chairman inducted into the WA Science Hall of Fame

WAMSI’s Foundation Chairman, Dr Bernard Bowen, was last night inducted into the WA Science Hall of Fame at the WA Science Awards Gala Dinner.

Dr Bernard Bowen was instrumental in establishing WAMSI during the inception and start-up period 2005 – 2007. Dr Bowen is currently the Chair of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research [ICRAR] which he took on after finishing as the WAMSI Chairman in July 2007. Dr Bowen has retained strong links with the marine science community through WAMSI however and is currently the Chairman of the WAMSI Strategic Programs Committee which advises the Board on strategic issues.

WAMSI CEO, Dr Steve Blake said “This award bestowed on Dr Bowen is very well deserved indeed. He has provided over 50 years of loyal service and scientific leadership to the State. Dr Bowen’s leadership across multiple science disciplines within WA is legendary. Dr Bowen’s focus on good governance, fair process and institutional enablement combines to give all joint venture participants confidence which encourages the ensuing co-investment and additional partnering opportunities.”

Press release: “Science Hall of Fame add a new star” from ICRAR, see attachment.

Photo: Dr Bowen receiving the award at the WA Science Awards Gala Dinner on 8 Dec 2011 with his wife, Esme.

Attached files: 

PDF iconBB Award_Final.pdf

The End of WAMSI Conference 2011

The Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) was formed in early 2006 as a unique collaboration of state, federal, industry and academic entities that have come together in a way that supports cooperation and scientific rigour around the strategic marine science needs for the State of Western Australia. Independent, peer-reviewed public good research has been the hallmark under the banner: Bettter Science, Better Decisions. The WAMSI conference in September was a unique event that represented the culmination and celebration of five years worth of research effort and $87million dollars worth of research projects.

The WAMSI Conference brought together some of Australia’s most esteemed marine scientists and their teams who together provided remarkable outcomes and achievements of their collaboration.

This conference provided a unique opportunity for scientists to show their research with users of the information, including managers, decision makers, consultants and the community. It was an invaluable opportunity for all stakeholders influenced by the WAMSI’s three key integrating themes – ocean systems forecasting, biodiversity conversation and natural resource management – to participate.

ECOS – Will Shark Bays seagrass survive big floods

Scientists are studying the impact of a massive influx of fresh water and sediment to Shark Bay in Western Australia as a result of the area’s largest ever flood event recorded in December last year.

Shark Bay was declared a World Heritage Area in 1991, and has the distinction of being one of the few places in the world that satisfies all criteria for World Heritage listing.

The bay’s vast seagrass meadows – the most diverse assemblage of seagrasses in the world – support globally significant populations of endangered dugongs and turtles.

‘Seagrasses are important as the basis of the bay’s food web,’ said CSIRO researcher, Dr Mat Vanderklift. ‘An array of invertebrates feed on them, fish feed on the invertebrates, and predators like dolphin feed on the fish.

‘The meadows also provide a nursery for juveniles of many species, including crabs and prawns.’

As well as the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship, the flood-impact study involves The University of Western Australia (UWA), Curtin University and the WA Marine Science Institution.



For more details visit:

Data Interrogation and Visualisation Environment (DIVE)

DIVE is a data visualisation and data access tool developed for, but not limited to, geographically localised, temporally and spatially varying data. It specifically targets the visualisation of multidisciplinary data and multidimensional data. DIVE runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX computers.

On this web page you can see an overview of DIVE. There are links to download the installer, the manual and the licence conditions.

Click on the link below to visit the DIVE site.

WA Marine Heatwave Event – The Great 2010/11 La Nina

A major ocean warming [marine heatwave] event occurred along the WA west coast from November 2010 until March 2011 influenced by a very strong La Nina event [opposite to El Nino] that caused masses of tropical water to flow between Indonesia and NW Australia and maintained very high ocean temperatures as it moved south down the west coast of WA. This was the same La Nina event that caused the incredible rain and flooding in eastern Australia during the same period of time.

At the height of the “heatwave”, temperatures of 3.5 deg C over ambient levels were recorded. This provides a major “shock” to the marine environment and caused fish kills and extensive coral bleaching in areas not accustomed to the sudden onset of high temperatures. Tropical fish species ended up much further south than their usual predicted ranges. Graphics depicting the southward migration of this heatwave event can be seen at:

In some cases, these are the warmest sea temperatures ever recorded for these regions and they appear to have been influenced by a much stronger than usual Leeuwin Current over summer, associated with the very strong La Nina event. The baseline information collected through SRFME and WAMSI over the last 10 years has allowed marine scientists to begin to quantify the magnitude and significance of the event and also begin to predict the ongoing implications for Western Rock Lobster recruitment, prawns, scallops, finfish etc. It further illustrates the importance of establishing marine scientific baselines and ongoing monitoring. The extent of the coral bleaching has been reported as high as 90% in some parts of the Mid West around places such as Shark Bay. Scientists will now continue to monitor the recovery as the La Nina event continues to break down. Some marine scientists are suggesting the marine heatwave “event” may be a likely indication of what to expect in the future with predicted increased climate variability affecting the marine environment, especially ocean warming, as we move into the future.

See also:°c-above-average-surface-temperatures/

Photo: DEC Marine Science Monitoring Team evaluating the magnitude of the coral bleaching event in Shark Bay in May 2011

Divers Shark Bay

Shark Bay Marine Science project kicks off

Project name: Shark Bay – Effects of Rising Water Levels on the Faure Sill and Stromatolites

A two year study into the likely effects of climate change and sea level rise on the Faure Sill and Hamelin Pool region of Shark Bay has commenced.

A WAMSI team comprising UWA, Curtin University and CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship received a Commonwealth Caring for our Country grant in late 2010 and began fieldwork in early 2011 following two major flood events over Christmas and New Year. As well as several fieldwork trips now completed, detailed airborne scanner work has been flown mapping the key parts of the Faure Sill and Hamelin Pool at 1-3m resolution on the ground. Work will be ongoing throughout 2011 and 2012.

Kimberley Aboriginal Ranger Marine and Coastal Science Training

Kimberley Aboriginal Ranger Marine and Coastal Science Training

On 14 June 2011, WAMSI was invited to participate in the Annual Indigenous Ranger Training Day held at Middle Lagoon on the Dampier Pennisula, north of Broome. Ranger groups came from throughout the Kimberley region.

The WAMSI CEO, Dr Steve Blake, was invited to present background and technical information on the marine environments along the WA coast with a particular focus on the Kimberley coastal areas. Also covered were: marine science research techniques, satellite tracking techniques, recent whale survey results, marine data management, international whale monitoring networks, migration patterns of humpback whales, the role of Kimberley coast as part of the annual migration, and the potential roles for rangers in both whale monitoring and broader marine science activities around the Kimberley coast. Four training sessions involving 80 Indigenous Rangers and participating Elders were conducted at the Two Moons Whale and Marine Research Base, concluding with Q & A and then a “hands-on” session with parts of a humpback whale skeleton for view. Steve Blake said “WAMSI is delighted to be able to assist with the training activities as part of the highly successful Aboriginal Ranger Programs in the Kimberley region.”

Whale Bones
Whale Bones

Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy

The Western Australian Marine Science Institution welcomes the announcement of the WA State Government’s Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy, see:

In 2008 WAMSI released the report: a turning of the tide: science for decisions in the Kimberley-Browse marine region to help highlight the need for a coordinated and integrated approach to establishing the necessary marine and coastal scientific baselines in the Kimberley Browse region. The Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy will go a long way to meeting this need.

WAMSI is looking forward to leading the Marine and Coastal Science components as outlined in the Strategy.

Kimberley Marine and Coastal Science Symposium

The first Kimberley Coast and offshore region’s symposium, the Kimberley Marine and Coastal Science Symposium, will be held in May next year.

The Royal Society of Western Australia (RSWA) and the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) are jointly hosting the event.

Chief Executive Officer of WAMSI, Dr Steve Blake, will speak about the symposium at an RSWA meeting at Kings Park Administration Building on 21 June.

Kimberley Marine and Coastal Science Symposium

The Royal Society of Western Australia (RSWA) and the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) recently jointly hosted the Kimberley Marine and Coastal Science Symposium.