Minderoo-UWA Marine Heatwaves Workshop 2021

19 August 2021


Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre

Minderoo-UWA Marine Heatwaves Workshop 2021
9.00am – 1.15pm, 19 August 2021
Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre
Free tickets at: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/minderoo-uwa-marine-heatwaves-workshop-tickets-157890902941

About this event
Sea surface temperatures on the West Australian coast were up to 2.5 °C warmer than average in the northwest in December of 2020 and 3 °C warmer than average in the central west in January this year. Although unlikely to reach the severity of the heatwaves in 2011, monthly forecasts for March and April still suggest considerably warmer-than-average conditions down the WA coast.
In this workshop, we bring together researchers from multiple disciplines to share emerging data on the 2021 heatwave event, discuss the effects on ecosystems, populations and industries, as well as explore preparedness in the face of future heatwave events.

Session 1 - Keynote Speakers
• Claire Spillman (Bureau of Meteorology)- Using seasonal forecasts to inform stakeholders during the 2021 West Australian marine heatwave
• Peter Rive (Aqualink) - Tracking of heatwaves worldwide: the Aqualink story

Session 2 - Marine Heatwaves Background
• Ming Feng (CSIRO) - Large-scale climate drivers of the marine heatwaves and cold spells off the west coast of Australia
• Chari Pattiaratchi (UWA) - TBC
• Mike Cuttler (UWA) - Real-time, in situ monitoring of waves and water temperature along WA
• Fabio Boschetti (CSIRO) - Statistical prediction of marine heatwaves via machine learning
• Matt Rayson (UWA) - Sub-surface observations of ocean heat content off Northern Australia during 2020-2021

Session 3 - Potential Impacts
• Ryan Lowe (UWA) - Ocean drivers of reef-scale heat budgets: implications for coral bleaching
• Nicole Ryan (AIMS)- Western Australian Coral Bleaching Group
• Claire Ross (DBCA)- DBCA long-term monitoring of seawater temperature and benthic habitats
• Thomas Wernberg (UWA) - Ecological impacts of marine heatwaves
• Nick Caputi (DPIRD)- The effect of marine heatwaves on fisheries in Western Australia
• Priscilla Goncalves (Minderoo) - Harnessing environmental DNA for long-term biomonitoring of marine heatwave hotspots

Session 4 – Group discussion

The ocean’s chemistry is changing. Why does it matter?

19 August 2021

09:00 - 10:00


Excessive CO2 emissions isn’t just an atmospheric problem, it’s changing the chemistry of our oceans and impacting ocean life. Join Australian Institute of Marine Science Senior Principal Research Scientist Dr Katharina Fabricius for a special webinar to learn about ocean acidification and how we can help mitigate it.

This webinar is part of National Science Week.

Tracking pygmy blue whales in the eastern Indian Ocean

17 August 2021

09:00 - 10:00


Tagging and tracking the elusive pygmy blue whales of the eastern Indian Ocean is helping us to protect and manage this endangered species, particularly where their migratory route and feeding areas overlap with Australia’s largest oil and gas producing region.

Join Australian Institute of Marine Science Marine Megafauna Ecologist Dr Michele Thums for a special webinar to find out how her team is using acoustics and satellite tracking technology to better understand pygmy blue whale behaviour.

This event is part of National Science Week 2021.
Learn more about AIMS: www.aims.gov.au

AMSA WA AGM – One ocean, two currents, many ships and lots of little fishes – Prof. Lynnath Beckley

26 August 2021

17:30 - 19:00


AMSA WA invites members to the AGM and hear from 2020 Jubilee Awardee, Prof Lynnath Beckley: ‘One ocean, two currents, many ships and lots of little fishes’,
followed by drinks and nibbles

To get in touch with the WA Branch, please email wa@amsa.asn.au

Key economic concepts marine scientists should know – Dr Abbie Rogers

13 August 2021



What key economic concepts should marine scientists know as we shift towards a Blue Economy? Water waveChart with upwards trend and yen sign

Join Abbie Rogers, Co-Director of the UWA Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy (CEEP) at our next event.

12 - 1pm, Fri 13 Aug

Perspectives on Decommissioning

4 August 2021


Ross Lecture Theatre, Physics, UWA

Response to maritime accidents in the Indian Ocean: from oil spills to nurdles

29 July 2021

12:30 - 13:30 AWST

IOMRC and Zoom


Charitha Pattiaratchi



Response to maritime accidents in the Indian Ocean: from oil spills to nurdles



Presentation starts at 12.30pm; 29 July 2021



This seminar is being held in the Auditorium, IOMRC building and via Zoom



Please RSVP by emailing chari.pattiaratchi@uwa.edu.au and advise if you wish to attend in person or via Zoom



Over the past 12 months there have been several maritime accidents in the Indian Ocean that resulted in long-term damage to the marine environment through oil spills and nurdles (plastic pellets) among others. These include oil spills associated with MV Wakashio in Mauritius and MT Diamond in Sri Lanka, respectively and nurdles spill from MV X-Press Pearl in Sri Lanka. In all these cases, real-time predictions (forecasts) of oil and nurdles transport were undertaken at UWA at the request of the Governments of Mauritius and Sri Lanka. MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef on the south-east coast of Mauritius on 25 July 2020 and on 6 August broke apart releasing ~900 tonnes of heavy bunker oil that impacted coral reefs and mangroves in the local area. The crude oil carrier MT New Diamond was transporting (~270,000 tonnes of crude oil from Kuwait to India. On 3 September 2020, a fire broke on the ship ~65 kilometres off the east coast of Sri Lanka.  After burning intermittently for almost a week, the fire was finally extinguished on 11 September 2020. A diesel oil spill that was ~1 km long was observed during this period. However, the local winds and currents were directed offshore and thus the spill did not interact with the shoreline. The container ship MV X-Press Pearl with 1486 containers on board caught fire on 22 May 2021, engulfed the whole ship and lasted for 13 days. Efforts to move the ship into deeper waters failed and the ship remains on the seabed partly submerged. The cargo included 81 containers were carrying hazardous cargo and included 78 tons of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) pellets or nurdles (~3 billion nurdles). The transport of the nurdles was rapid and within days had spread to onto beaches on the west and southern coasts of Sri Lanka. This was aided by winds and currents associated with the south-west monsoon and remote forcing from a tropical cyclone in the Bay of Bengal. Observations of nurdle beachings corresponded well with the predictions made using the UWA oceanographic models. With time, with the reversing monsoons it is predicted, that the nurdles will spread across the whole of northern Indian Ocean.



Prof Charitha Pattiaratchi is Professor of Coastal Oceanography at the Oceans Graduate School and the Oceans Institute at The University of Western Australia. He leads the IMOS Ocean Glider facility. His research encompass coastal ocean physical processes and their influence on climatic, biological, and geological processes in estuaries, the nearshore and the continental shelf. To date, he has directly supervised more than 285 people (20 doctoral researchers, 75 postgraduate research students and 173 honours/coursework-master’s thesis students). He has published over 500 articles which include 196 in peer-reviewed international journals.


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Coastal Futures: Regional resilience in the face of climate change

21 July 2021


Indian Ocean Research Centre, UWA

As part of the ‘Coastal Futures – Planning and Adaptation in a Changing Climate’ event series this session will focus on regional responses, local solutions and community resilience in the face of climate change. Hear from our experts about how coastal communities can prepare for and adapt to the challenges brought on by global warming.

Murdoch University Open Day 2021

18 July 2021


Murdoch University

ECU Open Day 2021

8 August 2021