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Marine life of the Kimberley bioregion: past, present and future

Bryce, C., Sampey, A., Fromont, J., Morrison, S., Marsh, L., Hosie, A., Huisman, J., Davie, P., Schlacher-Hoenlinger, M., Glasby, C., Willan, R., Hutchings, P., Walker, L., Richards, Z., Wilson, R. and Woolley, S. (2011) Marine life of the Kimberley bioregion: past, present and future. In: 48th Annual Conference of the Australian Marine Science Association, 3 - 7 July, Fremantle, Western Australia.


The marine biodiversity of the Kimberley is poorly known. The Western Australian Museum (WAM) commenced its multidisciplinary marine biodiversity survey program for this region in 1976, with further surveys occurring in the 1980s and 1990s. The vouchered specimens, published and unpublished reports of the WAM, and relevant collections housed in other museums and herbaria with a tropical interest, constitute the main biodiversity knowledge-base for this marine bioregion. In 2006, the WAM undertook a quantitative, multidisciplinary, marine survey of the north western atolls situated off the Kimberley continental shelf edge. This was later followed in 2008 by a biodiversity program, titled the Woodside Collection Project–Kimberley (Woodside 4), which will be finalised in 2011. The intent of this project was to examine the marine biodiversity of the Kimberley inshore region using both historic survey data (reports and collections) from the WAM and partner institutions, as well as new survey data from two field expeditions undertaken in 2009 to Adele Island and Montgomery Reef and in 2010 to Cassini Island and Long Reef. A new biodiversity program, the Woodside Collection Project–Kimberley (Woodside 5), is now underway with the intent of increasing the scope and resolution of the field data collected during the Woodside 4 field program. Woodside 5 (2011 – 2015) will include four separate surveys to targeted Kimberley coastal reefs and islands, and Browse Island on the mid-continental shelf, to provide latitudinal and longitudinal gradients of marine biodiversity data for the Kimberley Bioregion. Here we present an overview of this research to date.

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