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Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research

"promote and undertake research leading to improved understanding and management of marine ecosystems, maintaining their integrity and the ecosystems goods and service they provide."

Being a large island continent that spans temperate and tropical regions, Australia has a diverse range of marine ecosystems. Some of these ecosystems are under threat, particularly in those coastal areas that are densely populated or popular holiday destinations.

The Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research (CMER) is home to a dynamic and active group of researchers providing innovative and relevant research in marine and estuarine ecosystems for local, national and international researchers and managers.

CMER focuses its research on ecological processes in coastal systems, with the goal of providing a sound basis for understanding and managing human impacts. The majority of the group's activities are focused on:

  • Ecological processes and human impacts in marine systems, particularly seagrass and reef ecosystems. Understanding these processes and the impacts of human activites on them is crucial to developing approaches that balance the need to conserve our marine environment with the pressures for multiple use of the resources in our seas. Our research is currently helping to resolve the problems associated with dredging impacts, the construction of marinas, nutrient pollution and climate change impacts in seagrass meadows and reefs;
  • Connectivity among different marine habitats. Effective management of our coastal environment relies on a thorough understanding of pathways and scales of links between habitats over the marine landscape. This understanding is particularly critical for the development of Marine Reserves. CMER is at the forefront of research examining habitat connectivity in Western Australia and, arguably, Australia; and
  • Conservation biology of key species in our marine waters, including the dugong and a range of fish species highly targeted by fishers. Understanding the biology of key megafauna and economically-important species is crucial for their management, whether for conservation of iconic species such as the dugong or for the sustainable harvesting of fish stocks. CMER has the capacity and research skills to provide biological information relevant to management.

Centre members have strong links with a wide range of industry and government partners, including conservation and fisheries agencies, the oil & gas industry and the mining sector. We also have strong links with collaborators in a range of leading universities, including the University of Stockholm, The University of Southern Alabama, the University of Canary Islands, the CSIRO, University of Copenhagen and several Australian universities.

We draw upon the expertise in the Centre and these strong links to provide applied research that is highly relevant to the current issues facing managers and users of our unique marine environments.


Professor Paul Lavery
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 5687

Associate Professor Glenn Hyndes
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 5798

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