Australian Marine Parks

Charitha Pattiaratchi, Prepared for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2007.


About the report

The Australia’s South-west Marine Region between Shark Bay and Kangaroo Island can be classified as an oligotrophic environment because of the Leeuwin current’s dominance.

The Leeuwin current transports warm, low nutrient, low salinity water of tropical origin southwards, and its signature is found throughout the planning region.

The Leeuwin current’s presence also inhibits large-scale upwelling, common to other eastern ocean basins, despite the upwelling favourable prevailing winds.

In this oligotrophic environment, localised effects due to surface and subsurface current systems, strong winds, and a combination of topographic features (headlands, islands, submarine canyons, etc.) can produce regions of high productivity.