About the project


The main aims of this project is to understand the physical and biological oceanographic processes along the Ningaloo reef at a range of temporal and spatial scales using numerical and field techniques.

A major field experiment was undertaken in April/June 2006 in the Sandy Bay region as part of this project with collaboration between Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research and School of Environmental Systems Engineering at the University of Western Australia.

Data collected during the field experiment are being used to validate the numerical model as well as to determine the role of wave driven circulation within the reef.


  • An assessment of the dominant hydrodynamic processes in the reef lagoon system over a range of space and time scales.
  •  Capacity to numerically simulate waves, currents, sediment transport and particle dispersion in a shallow, complex reef environment over time scales of 1-100 days and space scales of 10-200km.
  • Application of the numerical model to conduct risk analysis of processes that threaten the integrity of key ecological and social values of the area
  • An assessment of the near-reef oceanic processes on organism-scale nutrient dynamics


  • Current profiles; Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP)
  • Acoustic Surface Tracking (AST)
  • Pressure and current velocities: Nortek Vector Acoustic Doppler Velocimeters (ADVs)
  • Tide gauges;


Program: WAMSI 2006-2011

Completed: December 2010

Location: Ningaloo Reef, Sandy Cape

Project Leader: Prof Charitha Pattiaratchi, UWA




Final Report