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Research spotlight turns on Ningaloo region

CSIRO : 23 April, 2007  (Technical Article)
A new $12 million research collaboration was announced today for Western Australia's Ningaloo Reef Region. The Minister for Education, Science and Training and the Member for Curtin in WA, the Hon Julie Bishop, launched the Ningaloo Flagship Collaboration Fund Cluster today, at Murdoch University.
The $12 million collaboration contributes to CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship vision to deliver sustainable regional development and growth for our marine areas. The Cluster, lead by Murdoch University, will bring the research capacity of eight institutions together to examine the problems affecting the management strategy for the Ningaloo Marine Park and adjacent coastal regions.

The research partners include Murdoch University, Curtin University of Technology, the Sustainable Tourism CRC, The University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University, The University of Queensland, The Australian National University and CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship.

'The research will examine the reef’s habitats and biodiversity, the human uses of the reef, and the social and economic aspects of tourism,' Murdoch University Professor and research Cluster Leader Neil Loneragan said.

“The integrated research approach taken by the Cluster, with the emphasis on socio-economic issues, brings a new element to the development of a Ningaloo management strategy,” Mr Roy said.'These multiple uses are then integrated into computer models to enhance the planning of conservation and sustainable development. This will show us how to use the reef without 'loving it to death'.”

The Director of the Wealth from Oceans Flagship, Craig Roy, said this collaboration is an exciting development focusing the capabilities of our national research institutions to deliver management evaluation systems while working in conjunction with state partners, such as the Western Australian Marine Science Institution.

'The integrated research approach taken by the Cluster, with the emphasis on socio-economic issues, brings a new element to the development of a Ningaloo management strategy,” Mr Roy said.

'All research results will be shared with WAMSI and other government agencies to deliver optimal information and management data to ensure the conservation and appropriate development options for this unique marine ecosystem.

'The partners will invest more than $12 million of research effort into the Cluster, over a four-year period, with the University partners receiving $2.3 million directly from the CSIRO Flagship Collaboration Fund.

'The Flagship Collaboration Fund enables the skills of the wider Australian research community to be applied to the major, national research challenges targeted by CSIRO's National Research Flagship Initiative.'
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