Australian Marine Parks

CSIRO for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2010.


About this report

This project involved analysis of existing remotely sensed light attenuation and bathymetry data to estimate where, on average, light penetrates sufficiently into the water column to allow photosynthesis.

This analysis was undertaken to provide a basis for establishing a surrogate to predict biodiversity within the North Marine Region.

Ocean depth is usually one of the main factors determining productivity, biodiversity and what types of animals and plants are found in particular locations.

The North Marine Region covers an extensive area of shallow water that lies over the continental shelf that varies comparatively little in depth.

The project found that in the shallow waters of the North Marine Region turbidity has a direct influence on the penetration of light into the water column, and that pelagic productivity and marine biological diversity are therefore more closely associated with its turbidity than its depth.

Results from this project have improved our understanding of the northern Australian marine environment and contributed to the marine bioregional planning process for the North Marine Region.