The physical oceanography is one of the primary factors that affect the ecosystems of coastal areas, and how these ecosystems may be affected by coastal development or changes in the input of sediment and nutrients from the land. The tides and currents are primary drivers for the transport of fish and coral larvae as well as other interesting organisms such as Crown of Thorns Starfish. Waves dominate the processes of resuspension and deposition of sediment around coral reefs, seagrass beds and other coastal settings. One of the primary focuses of this theme is the affect of sediment and nutrients on coral reefs in both natural conditions and also when dredging is occurring. Corals and seagrasses may be smothered by sediment or killed by prolonged reduction of light due to resuspended sediment or the proliferation of organic material caused by nutrient enrichment. This topic has become a major focus on the northern Australian coast with the recent considerable expansion of port facilities. Measurement of physical parameters is central to oceanography and we have a group dedicated to developing new instrumentation to support our work. This work has included the development of an inexpensive current meter, satellite tracked drifters for measuring current and water turbidity in rivers and the sea, and sediment deposition sensors.

Our expertise:

  • Coastal oceanography
  • Measurements of turbidity, light, waves, sediment deposition, currents
  • Telemetry of oceanographic instruments
  • Dredge monitoring projects
  • Instrumentation development
  • Geophysical resistivity surveys


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