View online! WA’s Ocean Environment – A Voyage of Discovery

This free documentary will take you on an extraordinary journey into Western Australia’s unique marine environment.

From the depths of Ningaloo Marine Park to the remarkable and little known fringing reefs of the Kimberley reigion; from the discovery of coral spawning to new species which hold potential cures for illnesses – marine scientists share their passion for the ocean and their quest to understand its secrets.

Freely availble online and soon on DVD!

For more information or to request a DVD email:

View the documentary in its entirety (34 mins) or as individual chapters.

Video Chapters:

View online! WA's Ocean Environment - A Voyage of Discovery


Kimberley Marine Science Seminar 9 November

WHAT: A series of 3 FREE seminars on past, current and planned research in the Kimberley
WHEN: 1:30-3:30pm, Friday 9 November
WHERE: WA Conservation Science Centre, Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington, WA

The WAMSI Kimberley Marine Science Program: A once in a lifetime opportunity

Dr Chris Simpson

Program Leader Marine Science Program, Department of Environment & Conservation

Node Leader, WAMSI Kimberley Marine Science Program

Recent resource development proposals by oil and gas companies to process and export Browse Basin hydrocarbons on the Kimberley mainland and offshore islands have recently put the entire Kimberley region under the spotlight. Although the number of people living in the Kimberley and visitors to this region is still relatively small, the natural and cultural values of the Kimberley region are very well known by Australians. The Kimberley region is considered widely as one of the world’s last great wilderness areas, a biodiversity ‘hotspot’ and a centre of Aboriginal culture. The resource development proposals provided impetus for the State Government’s Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy (KSCS) that would help ensure that any development would be compatible with the maintenance of the natural and Aboriginal heritage values of this region.

The WAMSI Kimberley Marine Science Program is a key element of the KSCS and is a once in a lifetime opportunity to undertake and integrated program of marine research in this region. The KMRP  is focused on providing the scientific information to underpin the conservation and management of the marine environment of the Kimberley in general and the proposed regional network of marine parks and reserves in particular. The KMRP began formally with the endorsement of KMRP Science Plan by the WAMSI Board in December 2011. The KMRP Science Plan was preceded by several other documents and reports, including the 2008 WAMSI a turning of the tide report, highlighting the urgent need for a program of marine research in the Kimberley coastal waters.

The presentation will briefly outline the history, objectives, geographical focus, research directions and outcomes of the KMRP. The operational and logistical difficulties of undertaking marine research in such a large and remote location will also be discussed.

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An insider’s perspective on marine research in the Kimberley

Mr James Brown

General Manager, Kimberley Marine Research Station & Cygnet Bay Pearls

The Kimberley Marine Research Station (KMRS) was first established in 2009 with guidance from WAMSI in an endeavour to support and contribute to an enhanced marine science effort throughout the remote Kimberley region of the far north-west.

KMRS was founded upon the overarching ethos of generating the highest standard of truly independent, peer-reviewed scientific output for the greater public good, working towards bridging relevant knowledge gaps on this remarkable yet largely under-studied marine region.

Located at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula, 200km by road north of Broome, the KMRS venture was pioneered by Kimberley born-and-bred marine biologist and third generation pearl farmer James Brown.

Today, KMRS represents one of only five marine research stations along WA’s 27,000km coastline; the first and only fully operational marine research facility along the 13,500km contours of Kimberley coastline; and the only privately funded marine research facility in the country.

Along with resident marine scientists based permanently on-site year round, the Station offers a mainland base, vessels, infrastructure, support personnel and 65 years’ worth of local knowledge and marine expertise to researcher teams with boating, diving and aquarium facilities available for research use.

This presentation will provide insight into the opportunities, logistics and exciting potential for marine scientists interested in operating in and on Kimberley waters through KMRS.


RSVPs are essential please, for catering purposes

General public and media welcome to attend

RSVP & more info: Dina Erba

WA Conservation Science Centre, Department of Environment & Conservation,
Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington



Prof Charitha Pattiaratchi (UWA)

WAIMOS Infrastructure in the Kimberley

West Australian Integrated Marine Observation System (WAIMOS) is a node of the Integrated Marine Observation System (IMOS) and with recent co-investment from the WA State Government, extended its deployment of infrastructure to the northern waters of Western Australia, including the Kimberley region.  In this presentation, the current status of the instrumentation deployed and example data highlights will be presented. The IMOS infrastructure located in these regions includes continental shelf moorings (ADCP, thermistor and water quality loggers) and ocean glider transects for subsurface water properties; passive acoustic sensors for whale monitoring; AUV transects for benthic monitoring and, remotely sensed data products (SST and ocean colour).  In the north-west the infrastructure is designed to monitor the influence of north-west shelf region on Leeuwin Current dynamics and the local continental shelf processes.  Examples of different processes, identified using the data streams from the Kimberley region will be presented.

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Mr Clay Bryce (WA Museum)

The WA Museum Woodside Collection Projects (Kimberley): 2008-2015

The WA Museum has been accumulating data on Kimberley marine fauna since 1976. In 2008 the Museum’s Department of Aquatic Zoology decided to ascertain the current state of the region’s marine biodiversity knowledge. With help from Woodside Energy, it embarked on an ambitious program to mine Kimberley marine faunal data from Australian museums, as well as floral records from the WA Herbarium. This resulted in over 60,000 records equating to over 6000 marine species. Augmenting this historical approach is a series of contemporary rapid assessment surveys (2009 – 2014), from Cape Leveque to the WA/NT border, examining 8 faunal taxa and the marine flora. This talk will provide an overview of these marine biodiversity programs.

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Dr Barry Wilson (Murex Consultants)

Patterns of life on Kimberley shores

The major controls of palaeographic development of the North West Shelf, including the Kimberley, have been climatic and sea level change and tectonism. The history of these events, especially those of the Quaternary, superimposed on the regional geology, has determined the range of habitats, the biological connectivity between them and adjacent regions, and the evolutionary development of the marine fauna. In this presentation, the contemporary marine fauna of the Kimberley is discussed in these historical biogeographic terms.

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Dr James Gilmour (AIMS)

Two decades of research on the Kimberly’s oceanic reef systems: dynamics and connectivity of coral assemblages in a changing world

Two decades of research on the Kimberly’s oceanic reef systems: dynamics and connectivity of coral assemblages in a changing world

This talk summarises almost twenty years of research by AIMS on the oceanic reefs of north-western Australia, focusing on the Scott Reef system. Scott Reef is unique in being far from the influence of many human activities responsible for the degradation of coral reefs globally, but for a catastrophic mass bleaching event in 1998. The 80% reduction in coral cover that followed provided an opportunity to quantify the rates and processes of recovery following a massive climatic disturbance. The recovery of the reef after 12 years is explained in the context of its connectivity to other reef systems and the underlying demography of its coral assemblages.

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Marine Science Research Station in Kimberley up for WA Science Award

The first and only marine research station in the remote Kimberley region has been named a finalist for a WA Science Award, under the Science Engagement Initiative of the Year category, the winner of which will be announced at an awards ceremony on the evening of Thursday 11 October.

The Kimberley Marine Research Station (KMRS) was established in 2009 as a unique collaboration between Australia’s oldest pearl farm, Cygnet Bay Pearls and the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) to help solve some of the logistical issues with working in such a vast and remote region.

The Kimberley Marine Research Station acts as a “foothold” into the Kimberley for marine scientists, providing vital infrastructure, logistical support and local knowledge to enable the scientists to work safely and cost effectively. Traditionally, the remoteness, lack of infrastructure, and extremes of climate, has meant that it was difficult and costly to undertake marine research here.

Located at Cygnet Bay on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula, 200km north of Broome, the fully operational research station provides on-site research support including accommodation, catering, vessel charter, transport and logistical assistance, aquaculture and marine laboratory facilities and qualified and experienced local staff to assist research teams.

“We are very honoured to be considered among the finalists for this award and look forward to opportunities to continue to profile and promote marine research in the region,” said James Brown, General Manager of Cygnet Bay Pearls.

This unique public-private partnership between WAMSI and Cygnet Bay Pearls has already fostered collaborations and achievements. Earlier this year, scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science working with the KRMS team observed near-shore coral spawning in the Kimberley for the first time.

Dr Steve Blake, WAMSI CEO said, “The Kimberley Marine Research Station is truly unique and has allowed greater collaboration and sharing of local knowledge to further science in this dynamic, biologically and culturally rich region.

“Mr Brown’s leadership and vision has been truly remarkable. I congratulate all that he and his Cygnet Bay Pearls team, have already achieved in establishing the KMRS as the most cost-effective platform for research in the Kimberley region moving forward. The short-listing of the KMRS for the WA Science Award is extremely well deserved.”

Considered one of the planet’s last great marine wilderness areas alongside the polar Arctic and Antarctic, the Kimberley falls within the remaining 3.7% of the world’s oceans least impacted by humans.

The WA Science Awards were established in 2002 to honour and reward the outstanding achievements of WA’s science and innovation community. The winners of the Awards will be announced on Thursday 11 October at the WA Science Awards Gala Dinner.

Photo: James Brown (General Manager, Cygnet Bay Pearls) and Ali McCarthy (Research Officer) out on the water at the Kimberley Marine Research Station


Kimberley collaborative aboriginal study confirms humpback birthing ground

An article published in on the Kimberley Science Portal of the WA ScienceNetwork about the joint WAMSI and Two Moons Whale and Marine Research Base humpback whale monitoring project:

Kimberley collaborative aboriginal study confirms humpback birthing ground


World Oceans Day

Thanks to the partnership between The Ocean Project, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Random House Children’s Books, they are pleased to offer another year’s worth of great Seuss-themed World Oceans Day materials!

Celebrate World Oceans Day with Oceans of Inspiration theme featuring Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish classic book characters.

New web resources boost WA marine environment education

Western Australia’s first integrated online marine science curriculum is being expanded.

Phase two of the Department of Fisheries’ MarineWATERs project, funded by Woodside Energy, provides resources for educators and students across Western Australia.

Manager, Community and Education, Michael Burke said the initial interactive website project was launched last year and had proved very popular.

“It connects educators and students with the tools they need to study WA’s unique marine ecosystems and address challenges to the sustainability of aquatic resources,” Mr Burke said.

“We are very pleased with phase two of the project that is being rolled out now, because it provides a range of new resources across all five modules for Kindergarten to Year 10. These resources include 14 additional lesson plans, plus new PowerPoint presentations and two new supplementary packages through the ‘In Depth’ and ‘Case Study’ series.”

Mr Burke said MarineWATERs supported teachers through lesson plans, fact sheets and information on current and emerging issues, plus links to credible and relevant sources.

The Western Australia Department of Fisheries is a WAMSI partner.

Photo caption: Christmas Island high school students monitoring coral.
Photo credit: Justin Gilligan

Kimberley Marine Research Station records near-shore coral spawning for first time

In a historic moment, scientists from the Kimberley Marine Research Station in Cygnet Bay have observed and documented the spawning of near-shore corals along the mainland Kimberley coast for the first time.

Nine days after the March full moon and after two wet, windy nights of monitoring, aquariums set up in the research station were awash with slicks of bright blue and pink spawn as moon (Mussidae), brain (Faviidae) and staghorn corals (Acroporidae) released their gametes into the water for fertilisation. The spawning occurred synchronously with corals on the reef only a few hundred metres away.

While Indigenous Australians in the region know the times of year when corals will spawn on the neap tides based on observations of slicks, near-shore coral spawning, which has been well researched in other areas such as the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo, has never been seen by scientists along the mainland  Kimberley coast until now. Direct observation of spawning agrees with previous sampling in the south and central Kimberley that found evidence of maturing gametes leading up to the March spawning. Taken together, this suggests the March spawning may be a key period for corals along the Kimberley, just as it is for the much better understood reefs at Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef and the iconic Ningaloo.

The observations were made possible with the expertise and assistance from Dr Andrew Heyward, a coral biologist from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (a WAMSI partner), and will provide a basis for future studies on the reproductive habits of corals which form the foundation of the Kimberley’s reefs – one of the most unique and poorly understood ecosystems in Australia.

The Kimberley Marine Research Station is an Industry Associate Member of WAMSI and is the first and only scientific research station in the region. Established in 2009 through a collaboration between Cygnet Bay Pearls and WAMSI, the Kimberley Marine Research Station aims to support and encourage board-scale independent scientific research throughout the Kimberley coastal and marine environment.  The research station offers facilities, vessels, personnel and local knowledge to enable independent marine scientists to access and work in the Kimberley.

Through its partners, WAMSI is undertaking pioneering research in the Kimberley marine environment in support of the State’s Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy.

Photo: Tony Cockram

See attachment for Kimberley Marine Research Station press release  

Kimberley Marine Research Station:

Media coverage in The Australian, Secret Life of Kimberley corals revealed

WAMSI research in the Kimberley

Attached files: 

PDF iconKimberley Inshore Coral Spawning 2012 release_0.pdf