We have long standing research affiliations with many key research and development organisations across Australia.
One of our key research local partnerships is with the Western Australian Marine Science Institution. WAMSI is a collaborative venture between the State Government and various partners to oversee research projects, which collectively cover oceanography, climate change, coral reefs, fisheries, ecosystems, biodiversity and social issues related to WA’s marine environment.
We are leading two WAMSI research streams focusing on developing methods to implement ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM) and marine biodiscovery.
EBFM is developing a risk-based framework, to enable management of fisheries at a regional level and to establish methods of monitoring the health of ecosystems and habitats, not just individual fish stocks.
WAMSI and CSIRO
We are also working with WAMSI and CSIRO to better understand the impact of a warming Indian Ocean on Western Australia’s fisheries.
A very strong Leeuwin Current and unusually high water temperatures, in some places the highest-ever recorded, contributed to a number of marine ‘fish kills’ over the 2010/11 summer. The strength of the Leeuwin Current also saw many tropical species extend their range as far south as Albany over the summer months.
With the WA fisheries worth more than $400 million per annum, of which the western rock lobster is among the top three contributors, improving our understanding of Indian Ocean currents and their influences is of vital importance.
Funded by a $450,000 Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, the project included a workshop with more than 80 marine scientists and managers gathering at our research centre in Hillarys.
Award winning partnership
We partnered with a world-leading nutritional company, BASF (formerly Cognis Australia), to undertake groundbreaking research and development work in aquaculture.
Part-funded by the FRDC, the project resulted in a world-first ‘farm’ facility for the minute brine-shrimp, Artemia, a critical food source for growing juvenile fish and shrimp.
The facility, near Hutt Lagoon, north of Geraldton, is expected to bring in millions of dollars to the Western Australia economy.
In 2010 the project won a prestigious Premier’s Award for our team of scientists and technicians.
Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre
Another important collaboration is with the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre, a collaborative project with leading research organisations working in and around the Indian Ocean.
We have joined with The University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute, CSIRO and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to form the largest marine research partnership in the Southern Hemisphere and the largest research capability in marine research in the Indian Ocean Rim.
As part of the new venture, our existing Watermans Bay Marine Research Facility will undergo an $11 m refurbishment, with completion expected in 2013.
The collaborative partners are also planning a new $62m marine research facility which will be built in the grounds of the main campus of The University of Western Australia. Completion of this phase is expected in 2015.