About the project


Ningaloo Marine Park (NMP) extends 5.5km seaward of the Ningaloo reef crest. Although this deeper water region constitutes a majority of the NMP area, and preliminary surveys have indicated high biodiversity values, it had not been systematically studied until the Ningaloo Research program.

The zoning of offshore sanctuary zones in the NMP Management Plan was based on very limited data and first principles of assumption, with the need for additional information identified as a high priority for future research. This set of research projects sought to address this knowledge gap about the benthic habitats and biologit communities in the waters deeper than 20 metres beyond the fringing reef.


  • To develop an improved bathymetry for Ningaloo Marine Park through collation of available data and acquisition of new soundings using acoustics
  • Undertake a broadscale characterisation of the biodiversity of the deepwater benthic habitats and associated fish communities of Ningaloo Marine Park based on historical information and information to be provided through deepwater broadscale habitat mapping as part of this study.
  • Characterise the surficial sediments and seabed geomorphology of the deeper waters of the Ningaloo Marine Park.


  • Singlebeam and multibeam acoustics
  • Traditional sedimentological and geomorphological sampling techniques
  • Macro-benthos sampling  using benthic sleds and the creation of bio-inventories
  • Baited Remote Underwater Stereo-Video (BRUV) sampling targeting the diversity and abundance of demersal finfish and towed video
  • Towed video and Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) and digital stills for habitat characterisation and classification



Program: WAMSI 2006-2011

Completed: 2007

Location: Ningaloo Marine Park

Project Leader: Andrew Heyward, AIMS



Final Report: Deepwater Communities

Final report: Invertebrates Inventory

Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet