AIMS Waypoint Quarterly Newletter

The latest edition of “Waypoint”, the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s quarterly online newsletter, is ready for navigation.

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$55m infrastructure project fires up tropical marine science

The $55 million federally funded Tropical Marine Research Facility Project at AIMS will greatly increase understanding of Australia’s complex marine ecosystems and support jobs, particularly in regional areas.

A major part of the project will be the Australian Tropical Oceans Simulator, which will enable AIMS scientists and their collaborators to conduct experiments to understand and predict the effects of global and local change on the marine environment.

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Despite fears, coral reefs have not been overgrown by seaweed

A global survey of coral reefs has shown that, while reefs face many threats, fears of a takeover by seaweed have so far not been realised.

AIMS scientist Dr Hugh Sweatman and his US colleagues have published a paper that questions a common view that many reefs that were once lush coral communities are now overgrown by seaweed.

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Baby fish shaped by mothers’ stress

Stressed reef fish mothers produce highly active babies, and this affects survival and has important implications for fish populations in a changing environment, according to new research.

Dr Monica Gagliano, a research fellow with the AIMS@JCU joint venture, worked with colleague Dr Mark McCormick from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies on a study that deepens understanding of how stress affects the dynamics of wild fish populations and hence how fish may cope with increasing human-induced stresses.

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The secret life of tropical sponges comes to light

They are sea creatures that have no neural system, just sit still in one place, and are far less studied and understood than more charismatic species such as corals. But a new scientific study has revealed just how remarkable tropical marine sponges really are – and how their young perform amazing feats to ensure the survival of new generations.

AIMS sponge ecologist Dr Steve Whalan, with colleagues from AIMS and James Cook University, has published a paper documenting the first ever study of sponge larvae from release to settlement and so sheds new light on what happens in the early stages of the lifecycle.

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CReefs marine science project inspiring BHP Billiton staff

The Australian resources company, BHP Billiton, has a growing pool of marine science knowledge and appreciation in its ranks, thanks to a successful employee engagement program in the Australian node of the international CReefs project.

BHP Billiton is a partner in the four-year $3.4 million project, along with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and AIMS. CReefs is the coral reef component of the Census of Marine Life, a global scientific initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life.

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In brief

AIMS appoints a new science leader for WA. CReefs scientists take up temporary residence at Ningaloo Station for the latest expedition. Female whale sharks at Ningaloo Marine Park are being electronically tagged to discover their migratory pathways.

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