WAMSI 2 - Kimberley Node - Project 2.2.2 - Pathways to Production: Biogeochemical Processes in Kimberley Coastal Waters
One of the few remaining pristine coastal environments in the world, the Kimberley is highly valued for its biodiversity, cultural values, tourism and fisheries. The biodiversity of the Kimberley coast is fuelled by oceanic and terrestrially derived nutrient resources, yet there has been limited prior research about how nutrients vary or how they are used and recycled across the region. Building this understanding is essential to inform future management of the Kimberley coast and marine parks.
This project has therefore been undertaken to address both of the major research priorities emphasised in the Kimberley Marine Research Program Science Plan: (a) providing the bio-physical characterisation required for marine resource management and (b) improving understanding of ecosystem function and how this might change in response to future trends in human use. In particular, this project has aimed to elucidate the processes controlling carbon and nutrient flows through pelagic ecosystems in the Kimberley region. Specifically, we have sought to link physical processes and riverine inputs to food web structure and function, improving process understanding of pathways and material flows that connect habitats, populations and bioregions in the Kimberley. We have identified sources of nutrients and how they translate to productivity for consumers, and through this work have supported the development of an improved understanding of how such processes may be modified by a changing climate.