School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

Postgraduate research

Further information

A-Z staff research profiles

Current and completed research by our postgraduate students.


Yasha Hetzel

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 8112

Start date

Mar 2009

Submission date

Mar 2013

Yasha Hetzel

Yasha Hetzel profile photo


Mixing and transport proceses in Shark Bay, Western Australia


The success of many marine mollusc species is strongly dependent upon hydrodynamic conditions that retain or transport larvae to favorable settling grounds. To effectively manage these fisheries, it is therefore essential to understand the dominant circulation and mixing processes in these regions. In Shark Bay, a large hypersaline bay in the arid northwest of Australia, the scallop (Amusium balloti) trawl fishery has experienced dramatic inter-annual variability in catch. My research aims to understand how hydrodynamic processes within the bay influence the dispersal and survival of the scallop larvae. Using a combination of field measurements (temperature, salinity, and current velocities) and numerical modeling, we have shown that dense saline bottom currents, driven by horizontal salinity gradients, flush water from the bay during the scallop spawning season. While these bottom currents are invisible to an observer on the surface, they could potentially determine the fate of scallop larvae drifting with the current.

Why my research is important

A better understanding of the physical processes driving larval dispersal and settlement will enhance the predictive capability of fisheries scientists, and allow for improved management of the scallop fishery in Shark Bay. More broadly, the dense water outflows also play a major role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem, exchanging water, heat, salt, nutrients and pollutants between shallow coastal regions and offshore waters.


  • International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS)
  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)


School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

This Page

Last updated:
Thursday, 19 September, 2013 11:39 AM