Geographe: Review of the Science

Overview Map


Geographe Marine Park


Researchers from the Marine Biodiversity Hub of the National Environmental Science Programme




Managers need to understand not only what exists in a Marine Park, but also the key processes that sustain and/or threaten the Park. The eco-narrative series synthesises our existing knowledge of Australia's individual Marine Parks to enable managers to understand the ecological characteristics of each park and highlight knowledge gaps for future research focus. The information in this eco-narrative forms an initial characterisation of Geographe Marine Park. Our knowledge of the park is such that we can now better understand its ecosystem structure, which can be used to inform management and monitoring into the future.


Researchers reviewed published literature and undertook new data analyses to provide an overview of what is known about the Geographe Marine Park, in particular to summarise its oceanographic, geomorphic and biological values.

What did we learn?

Geographe Marine Park contains areas of high biodiversity and benthic productivity, including some of the largest continuous seagrass meadows in Australia. These act as feeding, breeding, resting and nursery grounds for migratory and threatened seabirds, whales and numerous fish species. Shallow water seagrass cover may have dropped between 2004 and 2007. Seagrass communities are particularly susceptible to changes in water quality, and thus are under constant threat from stressors like increasing human population, nutrient flow from runoff, growing tourism, recreational and commercial fishing, introduced marine pests, and global climate change.

What next?

The key gap in our knowledge of the park is that we know very little about ecosystems other than seagrass, particularly deeper offshore habitats which represent approximately 50% of the Marine Park. Targeted oceanographic and biological surveys covering these deep-water locations would contribute to an improved overall understanding of the park ecosystem. Further, our existing knowledge of threats to seagrass is insufficient to detect the full extent of current impacts or to predict future ones. Targeted research to examine these threats to seagrass and other ecosystems in the Marine Park would be of great benefit.


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