The shallow reefs of Ningaloo
The shallow reefs of Ningaloo make up one of the longest and most pristine fringing reefs in the world. The reefs extraordinary biodiversity includes over 200 coral and 500 fish species and is home to hundreds of other species including crustaceans, molluscs, echinoderms and sponges. Corals and fish of the shallow reefs are highlighted in the Ningaloo Marine Parks Management Plan as key ecological values, and understanding their dynamics in understudied habitats remains a research priority for the Ningaloo Outlook shallow reefs program (2020-2025).
Led by Experimental Scientist Damian Thomson, the new phase of the shallow reefs project will use a combination of diver based surveys and modelling techniques to provide enhanced understanding of processes influencing reef recovery. Through better integration of shallow and deep reef observations, this research will improve our understanding of recovery processes across a full range of reef habitats, addressing key knowledge gaps for coral reefs at Ningaloo and globally.
A key element of the Ningaloo Outlook partnership is to provide training opportunities for future scientists, providing them with skills second to none, and which we hope will set them apart. Daphne Oh, our shallow reefs PhD scholar, will be based at the University of Western Australia and will focus her PhD research on understanding the structure and functioning of reef fish communities in the Ningaloo Reef.