SS9

From Sound to Sea: the oceanography of the Kimberley
David Holliday (Murdoch University) and Evan Weller (CSIRO)

The Kimberley and Northwest Shelf represents a largely unexplored, relatively ‘pristine’ marine region of Australia where multiple uses are rapidly expanding (fishing, aquaculture, tourism, oil and gas, etc.).  These present challenges for science, industry, policy and planning as there is a paucity of scientific information upon which to base management decisions.  The marine environment of the region supports high biodiversity which is underpinned by biophysical processes in the pelagic ecosystem.  This ecosystem is highly dynamic and strongly influenced by physical processes at a range of spatio-temporal scales.  Circulation of waters in the region is a complex interaction between large-amplitude tides, wind, riverine discharge and regional forcing by large-scale currents at the shelf break.  The link between the physical oceanography and biology of the region is currently poorly understood.

This symposium examines the influence of physical forcing upon biological and biogeochemical processes and the interaction between offshore and coastal / estuarine endpoints for this tropical shelf ecosystem.  It is anticipated that contributions to this symposium, such as physical oceanography, underwater light climate, nutrient budgets, primary and secondary production, plankton ecology and trophic linkages will provide a platform for expansion of marine research in the north of Australia.

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