Community ecology and ecosystem function
Research on aquatic ecosystems and community ecology is a very active area in the Centre with researchers and their students completing research in freshwaters, estuaries and catchments, and the coastal marine environment.
Freshwater research is led by Drs David Morgan and Stephen Beatty and Associate Professor Alan Lymbery. It includes research in south-western Australia and Northern Australia and focuses on describing the communities of fish and the impacts of threatening processes e.g. land clearing, salinisation, fishing, invasive pests and other environmental change, on these communities and their ecology.
The Centre has a long history of research on the estuaries of Western Australia, starting with research led by Professor Ian Potter on the Swan and Peel-Harvey systems in the mid-1970s. Research by Professor Potter and his postdoctoral research fellows, higher degree students and staff has been completed over three decades and continues on the estuaries of the Swan, Peel-Harvey, Leschenault and south coast estuaries. This includes examination of benthic invertebrates and fish communities and developing indicators of estuarine health for both rivers and estuaries.
Research on the influence of the Leeuwin Current and other oceanographic systems in the Kimberley, on the biological productivity and larval fish assemblages of the waters off Western Australian, is a major focus of this group. This research, led by Professor Lynnath Beckley, involves active collaborations with CSIRO and the University of Western Australia.