About the project


This project was designed to assess the effectiveness of the zoning scheme at Ningaloo Marine Park by measuring the distribution and abundance of organisms on the reef and assessing their variation in the context of both previous and current zoning (size, age, configuration) and habitat.

This was accomplished through a series of subprojects that focussed on various species groups in the lagoon system including fish, rock lobster, intertidal invertebrates and ecological processes.


The overall aim of this project was to assess the effectiveness of sanctuary zones in the lagoon system of NMP in protecting biodiversity and coral reef health. Sub projects were designed to address the following management questions which sought a better understanding of the current status of biodiversity and patterns of distribution throughout the park and evidence of the appropriateness of current management strategies:

  • •What is the species diversity, abundance and distribution of key flora and fauna in selected representative habitats;
  • How do exploited (historic and current) and unexploited areas of NMP compare in regards to the above question;
  • How do the movement patterns, life history and habitat use of key fished species interact with design of sanctuary zones to determine zone effectiveness;
  • Do variations in the abundance of key predatory species measurably affect prey populations;
  • Do variations in predator abundance indirectly affect reef ecosystem structure including the abundance of grazers, algae and corals and corallivorous gastropods (Drupella);
  • Are current management arrangements/regulations appropriate for preserving the biodiversity represented within the park;
  • What should management targets be for key species and ecological processes within the park; and
  • What species/processes should be monitored in order to most cost effectively ensure targets are met.


Program: WAMSI 2006-2011

Completed: 2008

Location: Ningaloo Marine Park - Gnaraloo to Muiron Islands

Project Leader: Russ Babcock, CSIRO





Broadscale Fish


Rock Lobster


Fish Movement