Coastal Oceanography

Research

The research undertaken by the research group encompasses coastal physical processes and their influence on biological, geological and climate processes on the continental shelf region, the nearshore (beach) zone and estuaries.

The group uses field measurements, remote sensing and computer modelling as the tools of research. Through sustained work carried out over the past 28 years, the research group has made significant contributions towards the understanding of coastal and shelf processes in Western Australia and the Indian Ocean region, discovering features and processes unique to Western Australia. The group has also made significant contributions to the development and testing of practical solutions to local environmental problems in Australia and Sri Lanka (amongst others), leading to the sustainable use of the coastal zone in these regions.


  • Ocean gliders

    Ocean gliders are remotely controlled autonomous underwater vehicles designed to collect oceanographic data from water depths up to 1000 m.


  • High-frequency radar

    Shore-based, high-frequency (HF) radar systems measure the speed and direction of ocean surface currents in near real time.


  • Ocean circulation

    Australia is an island continent surrounded by boundary currents, which include: Hiri (HiC), East Australian (EAC), Zeehan (ZC), Flinders (FC), Leeuwin (LC) and Holloway (HC) currents.


  • Extreme water levels

    Potential impacts and hazards of extreme water level events along our coasts are increasing as populations continue to escalate and the mean sea levels rise.

Projects

One hundred and thirty-three grants have been awarded since 1989—a total research funding of $24,834,898.

Grants 2011–2016

Dates Title
2016 Loan of gliders for e-reefs development project (University of Tasmania ex Australian Institute of Marine Science)
2015–16 Gorgon project: coastal hydrodynamic and sediment modelling (Western Australian Energy Research Alliance ex Chevron)
2016 Feasibility for an artificial surfing reef (Dept of Sport and Recreation, WA)
2015–16 Gorgon project: coastal hydrodynamic and sediment modelling (Western Australian Energy Research Alliance ex Chevron)
2015–16 Investigating critical biological issues for commercial greenlip abalone sea ranching in Flinders Bay, Western Australia (Curtin University of Technology ex Fisheries Research and Development Corporation)
2015 WA Didemnum Perlucidum modelling project (West Australian Marine Science Institution and WA Dept of Fisheries)
2015 Port Geographe post reconfiguration coastal modelling and analysis (WA Dept of Transport)
2014–17 Develop better predictions and forecasts for extreme water levels (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC)
2014–16 Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) Australian Coastal Ocean Radar Network (ACORN) (University of Tasmania ex Education Investment Fund)
2013–16 Australian National Facility for Ocean Gliders (University of Tasmania ex Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme)
2013–14 Development of tidal software using MATLAB (WA Dept of Transport)
2013–14 Pilbara regional initiative—integrating private and public metocean observing systems (Innovation Investment Facilitation Program, Dept of Commerce, WA)
2013 Seagrass wrack movement and coastal sediment transport assessment for the Two Rocks marina redevelopment (WA Dept of Transport)
2013 Marine Virtual Laboratory (MARVL) (University of Tasmania ex National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources programme)
2012–14 IMOS—West Australian Integrated Marine Observing System (gliders) (University of Tasmania ex Dept of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Education Investment Fund)
2012 Cockburn coast vulnerability study (Coastal Zone Management Pty Ltd)
2012 Augusta boat harbour: coastal sediment transport and seagrass wrack movement assessment (WA Dept of Transport)
2012 New insights into blue whales, the Sri Lankan enigma: linking oceanography, prey, and blue whale distribution in an ecological cul-de-sac (UWA Research Collaboration Award)
2012 Long-term changes in perched beach morphology and response to climate change in Australia and the UK (UWA Research Collaboration Award, in conjunction with S Gallop, C Bosserelle and Dr I Haigh)
2011–13 Ocean-shelf exchange with an emphasis on the roles of waves, tides, eddies and cross-shelf flows on carbon exchange (University of Tasmania ex Australian National Network in Marine Science Springboard grant)
2011–12 Comparing changes in extreme sea level: Australia and northern Europe (Go8 Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme, in conjunction with Dr Ivan Haigh)
2011 Acoustic tracking and modelling services for marine wildlife (WA Dept of Environment and Conservation, in conjunction with Dr M Thums, Dr S Whiting, Dr M Meekan, Prof. R Harcourt, Dr K Pendoley and Dr C McMahon)
2011 Unravelling the blue: determining the relationship between blue whales and oceanic process off southern Sri Lanka (Ocean Park Conservation Foundation)
2011 Sea level exceedance probabilities for Australia—stage 2: inclusion of tropical cyclone-induced surges (Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre ex Dept of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, in conjunction with Dr I Haigh)
2011 Sea level exceedance probabilities for Australia—stage 3: cyclone database (WA Dept of Transport, in conjunction with Dr Ivan Haigh)
2011 Group of Eight European Fellowship: Mihanovic (Group of Eight European Fellowship, in conjunction with Dr H Mihanovic)
2011 SEA SERPENT project (South-east Asia node of scientific and environmental ROV programme using existing industrial technology) (ENI Australia)
2011 Provision of consultation services for a coastal assessment study at Yanchep Lagoon redevelopment (City of Wanneroo)

Grants 2006–2010

Dates Title
2010–12 Ocean–reef interactions as drivers of continental shelf productivity in a changing climate (Australian Research Council discovery grant, in conjunction with Prof. A Waite)
2010 Port Geographe sediment modelling (WA Dept of Transport)
2010 21st century changes in extreme sea levels around Australia and the UK (UWA Research Collaboration Award, in conjunction with Dr I Haigh)
2010 New insights from ocean gliders: comparing oceanographic forcing of phytoplankton dynamics in two very different eastern boundary current regions (UWA Research Collaboration Award, in conjunction with Dr C Hanson)
2010 Sea level exceedance probabilities for Australia (Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre grant, in conjunction with Dr I Haigh)
2010 Australian National Facility for Ocean Gliders (University of Tasmania ex Dept of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Education Investment Fund)
2009–12 SERPENT: Exmouth Plateau/Greater Gorgon (University of Sydney ex Chevron)
2009–12 Deployment of ocean gliders as part of the west Australian integrated marine observation system (Western Australian Marine Science Institution)
2009–11 Transient coastal upwelling along Western Australia: the dynamics of the Ningaloo current system (Australian Research Council discovery grant, in conjunction with Prof. Greg Ivey and Dr Ryan Lowe)
2008–11 Marine geohazards research fellow (funded position) (Western Australian Energy Research Alliance)
2008–11 Offshore and coastal engineering and the effects of climate change (Western Australian Marine Science Institution)
2008–09 Minimising gear conflict and resource sharing issues in the Shark Bay trawl fisheries and promotion of scallop recruitment (Fisheries Research and Development Corporation)
2008–09 Turbulent transport and mixing in estuarine and coastal seas (Group of Eight/DAAD German Research Cooperation Scheme)
2008 Climate-related variability in ocean circulation systems in the north-west of Australia (Dept of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts)
2008 Marine hydrodynamic modelling, as part of feasibility investigations into a possible desalination plant to supply Adelaide (SA Water)
2008 Vertical mixing processes in the upper Swan River estuary using tracers (Swan River Trust)
2008 Research study into seagrass wrack movement at Geographe Bay (Dept for Planning and Infrastructure)
2007–10 Characterisation and modelling of oceanographic processes in Ningaloo Reef and adjacent waters (Western Australian Marine Science Institution)
2007–09 Effect of deep-sea drilling on sustainability of deep-sea ecosystems (Australian postgraduate award industry award)
2007–08 Australian National Facility for Ocean Gliders (University of Tasmania ex National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, Dept of Industry)
2007 Oxygenation project advisory group (Swan River Trust)
2007 Ocean water level variability (BP Kwinana)
2007 Modelling study to predict the wave climate at four locations along the WA continental shelf (Dept of Fisheries)
2007 Marine investigations—oceanographic study (KBR, Inc.)
2007 Understanding areas of high productivity within the south-west marine region (Dept of the Environment and Water Resources)
2006–09 Tidally generated internal waves and currents (Australian Research Council discovery grant, in conjunction with Prof. G Ivey)
2006 UWA infrastructure fund: marine science research vessel (UWA grant)
2006 Ship-time on Marine National Facility research vessel the RV Southern Surveyor

Grants 2001–2005

Dates Title
2005–06 POGO-Nippon Foundation visiting professorship programme (Nippon Foundation)
2005 Swan River oxygenation investigation (Waters and Rivers Commission)
2005 Review of ecological information and knowledge of Australia’s south-west marine region (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
2005 Marine science equipment (UWA grant)
2005 GUI Matlab toolbox (Australian Research Council Research Network for Earth System Science)
2004–05 A pilot field measurement program to define dissolved oxygen dynamics in Cockburn Sound and vertical mixing (Water Corporation)
2004–05 Perth seawater desalination project—independent expert advisor oceanographic matters (Water Corporation)
2004–05 Adelaide coastal waters study task PPM 2: physical oceanographic studies in the Adelaide coastal waters using high resolution modelling, in situ observations and satellite techniques (CSIRO)
2003–05 Understanding the natural variability of currents along the Western Australian coastline (Strategic Research Fund for the Marine Environment)
2003 Excellence in teaching award—postgraduate research (UWA)
2003 A proposal for the cage culture of yellow-fin tuna at the Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia (Newbold and Latitude Fisheries)
2002–04 Habitat partioning and the influence of depth and latitude in structuring continental-shelf demersal fish assemblages: a novel study using stereo-video techniques (UWA postdoctoral fellowship to Dr E Harvey, in conjunction with Dr G Kendrick, Botany)
2002–04 Physical and chemical forcing of primary production in shallow coastal waters off south-western Western Australia (Strategic Research Fund for the Marine Environment)
2002–04 Hydrodynamics of intermittently closing and opening lakes and lagoons (Australian Research Council linkage grant)
2002–04 Hydrodynamics of fringing reef systems (Australian Research Council linkage grant)
2002–04 Characterising the fish habitats in the Recherche Archipelago, Western Australia (Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, in conjunction with Dr G Kendrick et al., Botany)
2002 Honours scholarships (Dept of Fisheries and Conservation and Land Management)
2002 Field measurements of flow through the Garden Island causeway (Cockburn Sound Management Council)
2002 Ship-time on Marine National Facility research vessel the RV Southern Surveyor
2002 Characteristics of rip current systems associated with coastal structures (UWA small grant)
2001–03 Modelling the formation of headland-associated linear sandbanks (Office of Naval Research, USA)
2001–03 Marine science and engineering initiative (UWA strategic research fund)
2001 Dynamics of the Capes current and its influence on primary productivity (UWA small grant)
2001 The influence of north-west cloudbands on rainfall in the Gascoyne Murchison region (Dept of Agriculture, WA)
2001 The influence of north-west cloudbands on eastern Australian rainfall (Land and Water Development Corporation)

Grants 1996–2000

Dates Title
2000–02 Salt wedge propagation and biochemical composition in two west Australian estuaries and implications for water quality management using oxygenation (Australian Research Council SPIRT scheme)
2000 Continental shelf processes between Shark Bay and North West Cape (Australian Research Council)
2000 14-days ship-time on National Facility RV Franklin to the northern section of WA coastline (I was awarded 10 days ship-time, which has been estimated as $25,000 per day as per RV Franklin guidelines)
1999 Hydrodynamic modelling and dispersion characteristics of proposed discharges from Global Olivine plant in Cockburn Sound
1999 Hydrodynamic modelling of proposed development of Torrens power station discharge (Burns and Roe Worley)
1999 Hydrodynamic and dispersion modelling of Bolivar outfalls (Kinhill, SA Water)
1999 Impact of tsunamis on Dampier Harbour (Dampier Port Authority)
1999 Hire of a directional wave recorder (Fugro Geos, UK and NIWA, New Zealand, WA Dept of Transport)
1999 Performance monitoring of the Cables artificial surfing reef (Dept of Sport and Recreation, WA)
1999 Formation and maintenance of shoreface-attached sandbars in Geographe Bay (Australian Research Council)
1998 Hydrodynamic modelling of proposed power station discharge (ERSU, SA)
1998 Port Adelaide WWTP relocation study (United Water, SA)
1998 Wave and hydrodynamic modelling in Esperance Bay (WA Fisheries)
1998 Field measurements of undertow (Australian Research Council)
1997 Sediment transport processes on the beachface and in the inner surf zone of natural beaches (Australian Research Council)
1997 Hydrodynamic and dispersion modelling of the proposed Glenelg outfalls and the Patawalonga Culvert (SA Water)
1997 Design studies associated with the development of a fishing boat harbour in Kudawella, Sri Lanka (Government of Sri Lanka through Lanka Hydraulic Institute)
1997 Effects of wave resuspension on light attenuation (Water Corporation, WA)
1997 Groundwater discharges into Cockburn Sound (Halpern, Glick and Maunsell, WA)
1996 Cape Peron outfall monitoring (Water Corporation)
1996 Field (CTD) investigations into saline intrusion in the Matu Estuary, Sarawak (Government of Sarawak through PS Konsultant and Associates)
1996 Hydrodynamic modelling of the Port River (SA Water, South Australia)

Grants 1989–1995

Dates Title
1995–97 Water quality and hydrodynamic modelling in the Swan River Estuary (WA Estuarine Research Foundation)
1995–97 Design studies associated with the development of a fishing boat harbour at Panadura, Sri Lanka (Government of Sri Lanka through Lanka Hydraulic Institute)
1995–97 Design studies associated with the development of a permanent opening for Chilaw Lagoon, Sri Lanka (Government of Sri Lanka through Lanka Hydraulic Institute)
1995–96 University postdoctoral fellowship (the University of Western Australia)
1995–96 Investigations into saline intrusion in the Matu and Daro estuaries, Sarawak (Government of Sarawak through PS Konsultant and Associates)
1995–96 Three-dimensional structure of island wakes (Australian Research Council)
1995 Hydrodynamic modelling of the Adelaide metropolitan coastline (South Australian Urban Land Trust)
1995 Study of coastal erosion problems in Esperance (Esperance Town Council)
1995 Perth ocean outfall performance monitoring program. Hydrodynamic modelling and field data analysis around Cape Peron outfall (Water Authority of Western Australia)
1995 Circulation study of Shark Bay, Western Australia (Gascoyne Development Authority)
1994–95 Estuarine and lakes flushing study of Barker Inlet, South Australia (Multi-Function Polis, Australia)
1994 Hydrodynamic studies of Wilson Inlet (Wilson Inlet Management Authority and Waterways Commission, WA)
1993–94 Assessment of the present knowledge of mixing within Port Phillip Bay and field studies to determine the exchange of water between Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait and the mixing of Werribee and Yarra plumes within Port Phillip Bay (Melbourne Water and CSIRO as part of the Port Phillip Bay environmental study)
1993–94 Review and modelling of circulation patterns within Geographe Bay, WA (Water Authority of Western Australia)
1993–94 Field studies to determine the performance of the destratification system in Port River, South Australia (Engineering and Water Supply Dept, SA)
1993–94 Collection and analysis of physical data (waves, currents, meteorology and remote sensing) offshore Perth (Water Authority of Western Australia)
1993–94 Development and validation of hydrodynamic and ecological models for Perth coastal waters (Water Authority of Western Australia)
1993 Review of oceanographic processes offshore Dampier, WA (Woodside Offshore Petroleum Pty Ltd)
1993 10-days ship-time on National Facility RV Franklin to the Gulf of Papua (I was awarded 10-days ship-time, which has been estimated as $25,000 per day as per RV Franklin guidelines)
1992 Development of a baroclinic hydrodynamic model for Perth coastal waters (Dept of Industry, Technology and Commerce, Australia, and the German Academic Exchange Service)
1991–94 Sedimentation at a major coral reef—fluvial deltaic junction: Great Barrier Reef/Fly River (jointly with the Ocean Sciences Institute, University of Sydney, by the Australian Research Council)
1991–93 Wave/current interaction and sediment transport (jointly with the Victorian Institute for Marine Science by the Australian Research Council)
1991–92 Design studies for the construction of an artificial surfing reef (artificial surfing reef committee)
1991 Effect of the sea breeze system on coastal processes (Division of Engineering and Computer Science, the University of Western Australia)
1991 Review of physical processes in the vicinity of the Beenyup outfall (Water Authority of Western Australia)
1991 Effect of the sea breeze system on coastal processes (Division of Engineering and Computer Science, the University of Western Australia)
1990 Effect of boat wakes on the erosion of the Swan River foreshore (Swan River Trust)
1990 Development of multi-date algorithms for remote sensing of water quality parameters in estuarine and coastal waters using Landsat TM data (Environmental Protection Authority, WA, and the Waterways Commission)
1990 Direct measurements of sediment transport processes in coastal seas (the University of Western Australia)
1990 Predicting chlorophyll concentrations and primary productivity in south-west Australian waters using remotely sensed imagery (the University of Western Australia/CSIRO collaborative research fund)
1989–91 Modelling the evolution of a linear sandbank field, Moreton Bay, Queensland (jointly with the Ocean Sciences Institute, University of Sydney, by the Australian Research Council)

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