Nin­ga­loo sea life stud­ied

Pilbara News - - News - Louise Alling­ham

Three PhD stu­dents from the Univer­sity of WA will be con­duct­ing re­search along the Nin­ga­loo coast as part of BHP Bil­li­ton and CSIRO’s Nin­ga­loo Out­look pro­ject.

Nin­ga­loo Out­look is a five-year re­search pro­ject that started in Fe­bru­ary of 2015 and aims to help con­serve, un­der­stand, and man­age the unique reef.

It is split into three themes: deep reef, shal­low reef and tag­ging tur­tles and sharks.

Each of the stu­dents will be as­signed to one of the re­search cat­e­gories.

Joe Turner, Anna Cress­well and Jes­sica Stubbs were cho­sen out of 70 ap­pli­cants and landed in the Pil­bara just one month ago.

Since they ar­rived, they have been study­ing and de­cid­ing on a topic for their PhD, which will take more than three years to com­plete.

Ms Cress­well, who will be work- ing on shal­low reefs, is from Tas­ma­nia but is fa­mil­iar with the Nin­ga­loo coast.

“In 2010 for six months — in my gap year be­tween school and start­ing my de­gree — I worked for Co­ral Bay Ad­ven­tures,” she said.

“That kind of in­spired me… so now I’m hop­ing to come back and de­velop a knowl­edge for the area so we can ef­fec­tively man­age it.”

Mr Turner, who has come all the way from the UK, will un­der­take his PhD on the Nin­ga­loo’s deep reef habits.

Ms Stubbs, a WA lo­cal, will be look­ing at the habits of the reef ’s tur­tles and sharks.

BHP en­vi­ron­men­tal su­per­vi­sor Tim Cooper is ex­cited to see what the stu­dents would bring to the pro­ject.

“(Stu­dents have) al­ways got some new ideas. They’re play­ing with tech­nol­ogy and in­no­vat­ing and they just add that ex­tra level of en­thu­si­asm to a pro­ject,” he said.

Pic­ture: CSIRO

UWA PhD stu­dents Anna Cress­well, Jes­sica Stubbs and Joe Turner are re­search­ing the Nin­ga­loo coast as part of the CSIRO Nin­ga­loo Out­look pro­ject.

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