Premier opens new WAMSI Offices

Premier Colin Barnett, Minister for Science, officially opened the new offices of the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) headquarters in Floreat on Friday 17th May 2013. At the opening were around 35 invited guests that included the WAMSI Board and Governors, Professor Lyn Beazley, Chief Scientist of Western Australia, Winthrop Professor Shaun Collin, WA Premier’s Research Fellow, and Professor Robyn Owens, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) from the University of Western Australia, as well as other eminent Western Australian Scientists. The Premier was given a guided tour of the new WAMSI offices and also toured Angela Rossens’ studio, the Ocean’s Institute’s artist in residence.  After the tour, the Premier unveiled a plaque commemorating the occasion.

Jenny Shaw wins awards

Congratulations to Jenny Shaw on winning four awards and a commendation for the Abrolhos PhotoVoice project and the ‘Seeing Change’ exhibition. The PhotoVoice project showcases a fishing community’s experience of environmental and social change as seen through the lens of a camera. This project highlights the issues affecting the Abrolhos Islands, the rock lobster fishing industry and the islands’ communities over the last five to ten years. It was a successful collaboration between the Western Australian Marine Science Institution, Curtin University, WA Department of Fisheries, Coastwest, the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, the WA Museum, ABC Open,  and of course, the Abrolhos Islands fishing community.

MAGNA 2013 Museums and Galleries National Awards
Winner – Best Temporary Exhibition under $20,000

Western Australian Coastal Awards for Excellence 2013
Winner – Coastal Heritage Preservation Award

Goodness Awards for Sustainability and Innovation 2013
Winner – Science Award

Overall winner Postgraduate Presentation Award.  NCCARF Conference Climate Adaptation in Action 2013: Knowledge and Partnership. Sydney NSW. June 2013.  For the presentation and poster – Shaw, J., Caputi, N., and Stocker, L. (2013) Climate adaptation in the Abrolhos Islands fishing community: a cascade of environment, management, economic and social changes.

WA Seafood Industry Awards 2013
Commendation – Seafood Industry Promotion Award

Western Australian LANDCARE AWARDS 2013
Finalist – Coastcare Award

Other related links Page 4

WAMSI first to use SeaSim in a four year dredging evaluation project

WA’s marine environment, researchers and the offshore oil and gas industry are set to benefit from new insights provided by a national sea simulator launched at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville on Thursday.

Known as SeaSim, the $35 million research aquarium can mimic the conditions of various waterways including the open ocean, flooding rivers and reef lagoons more closely than other similar facilities around the globe.

One of its first projects is a multi-billion dollar four-year West Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) program exploring how dredging may affect marine life, such as corals and sponges, off WA’s coast.

Read more here

Solving the ocean’s mysteries with the world’s smartest aquarium

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 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

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

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: