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Early registration and Icebreaker: 2nd July

Conference Program: 3rd - 6th July

Indigenous Engagement Workshop: 7th July

Technical Workshops: 7th - 9th July

General Sessions

G1: Marine fundamentals

Talks that fit within the following broad topics and are not covered in symposia should be submitted to this session: marine ecology, marine biology, marine chemistry, marine geology and oceanography. 

G2: Marine food security

Talks that fit within the following topics and are not covered in symposia should be submitted to this session: aquaculture, biosecurity and marine fisheries

G4: Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystems

Talks covering all aspects of marine science in the Arafura and Timor Seas (this session is looking for a regional focus, including studies under the Arafura & Timor Seas Ecosystem Action (ATSEA) program)

G5: Looking to the future

Talks that fit within these broad topics and are not covered in symposia should be submitted to this session: social licence to operate and emerging issues.


S1: How can marine science better guide environmental decision-makers? (Convenor: Ken Anthony, Australian Institute of Marine Science)

The global oceans are facing pressures from a complexity of stressors driven by local, regional and global factors. This complexity is amplified by risks to a diversity of environmental, social and economic interests. Further, the science reporting on the state of the oceans and what it means for people and economies is often opaque, techno-centric and not easily translated to policy advice. As a consequence, environmental policy-makers are often left with judgment calls as the only practical solution, rather than transparent decision-making informed by the best available science. The purpose of this session is to bring a group of enthusiastic speakers and a large audience together around this problem in the marine research and policy arena. Presentations are invited from a wide range of field to bring their approaches and examples of useful decision analyses to the table.

S2: Sustainable estuaries and societal benefits: linkages, challenges and future trade-offs. (Convenor: Fiona Valesini, Murdoch University)

There are few other environments where the concepts of ‘connectivity’ and ‘sustainability’ across natural-societal realms come into sharper focus than in estuaries. These diverse and productive ecosystems provide connective pathways from catchment to coast, and are major nuclei for people given the extensive societal benefits they provide. Seven of the eight Australian capital cities and 22 of the 32 largest cities globally are located on estuaries, which has, however, led to them becoming among the most degraded of all aquatic ecosystems. Resultant threats to food security, safety, livelihoods, culture and diversity provide clear evidence of the tight interdependence between environmental and societal sustainability in these systems. Maintaining or remediating estuarine health is a global challenge, reflecting their complexity, often highly modified states, myriad of uses and users, conflicts over preserving ecological vs economic interests and the need for truly collaborative efforts across research disciplines, stakeholders and institutions. Presentations are invited in the areas of: Understanding trade-offs in estuarine and societal health, estuarine and/or societal health indices, resilience and ‘tipping points, quantifying estuarine ecosystem services, approaches for supporting adaptive management across estuarine-societal systems, and Forecasting system change under future scenarios.

S3: Building resilient urban ports and harbours through globally integrated research and management (Convenor: Emma Thompson, World Harbour Project)

The World Harbour Project brings together 26 international harbours and ports tackling issues around the multiple uses of harbours. The WHP facilitates programs investigating and restoring ecosystem functioning and the development of management best-practices through 4 working groups – Water and Sediment Quality, Green Engineering, Conflict Resolution, and Education. Presentations are invited from researchers working in harbours worldwide, both scientific and social science perspectives.

S5: Ecological diversity and connectivity in the tropical eastern Indian Ocean (Convenor: Zoe Richards, Curtin University)

The Indo-Pacific is an extremely large marine realm that unites two oceans via a restricted Coral Triangle corridor. A large body of research exists that describes the patterns and processes responsible for the diversity in the Central and West Pacific but the Indian Ocean has up until now been largely neglected. This symposium session will showcase the results of recent research conducted in the NE Indian Ocean and highlight the diversity and ecological connectivity in the region. The session will explore how the diversity of the region is currently managed and how traditional knowledge and new technologies could be further incorporated into future management to safeguard the unique marine resources of the NE Indian Ocean.

S6: Remote sensing techniques for marine sciences (Convenor: Zhi Huang, Jamie Treleaven, Geoscience Australia)

Marine Remote Sensing has been evolving towards a multi-platforms and multi-sensors integrated system. A range of optical, radar and acoustic sensors can be mounted on a variety of platforms such as satellites, aeroplanes, ships, and airborne/underwater AUVs to detect and monitor marine and coastal phenomena from local to global scales. Successful applications of remote sensing technology have been demonstrated in all disciplines of marine sciences including marine geology, oceanography and marine biology and ecology. As a result, the National Marine Science Plan (2015-2025) has called for the increased and improved use of remote sensing technology to help tackle the challenges currently facing Australia’s marine estate. This symposium aims to demonstrate current and future applications of remote sensing technology in marine estate. Presentations are invited from all aspects of marine remote sensing, in particular, the applications related to the theme of this conference (“Connections through shallow seas”) and the applications of emerging marine sensors such as Himawari 8 and Sentinel 3.

S7: The use of acoustics for the exploration and management of the marine environment. (Convenor: David Williams, Australian Institute of Marine Science)

The field of acoustics is developing rapidly due to quantum changes in electronic miniaturisation and availability of smaller and at the same time more powerful computing facilities. Acoustics work well in sea water, the signal can readily propagate through the water column and the result can be rich in information on ocean currents, suspended matter, ocean bed properties, net material fluxes, imagery and fish passage. Acoustic technology can be used from both fixed and moving platforms and is suitable to use from all our existing vessels as well as the newer platforms such as ROV’s and AUV’s. Acoustic methods encompass both passive and active acoustics. Passive acoustic examples are fish tagging methods and noise logging. Both have revealed new insights in biological oceanic processes and have allowed new links between biology and physics to be formed. Active acoustic examples are current profilers and multi beam echo sounders. The rapid advancement of these technologies are allowing never before seen detail in ocean processes to come to light in reasonable simplicity and in near real time. Presentations are invited from all acoustic related fields. 

S8: Noise impacts on marine life (Convenor: Rachel Przeslawski, Geoscience Australia)

The extent to which anthropogenic noise in the world’s oceans impacts marine fauna is a subject of growing concern. Sources of marine anthropogenic noise include high-intensity acute sounds produced by activities such as military exercises, oil and gas exploration, pile-driving as well as lower-level chronic noise generated by commercial shipping and recreational and commercial fishing vessels. Many marine animals, from small invertebrates to large cetaceans, make extensive use of underwater sounds for important biological activities such as intraspecific communication, predator avoidance, navigation, larval orientation, foraging and reproduction. Potential effects of anthropogenic sound sources on marine animals range from disturbance that may lead to displacement from feeding or breeding areas, to auditory damage, tissue trauma and mortality. Alternatively, some marine species may experience no effect of exposure to intense sources, particularly if the spectral level does not exceed hearing thresholds. Presentations are invited from ecology, physics, and policy to showcase leading research on noise impacts on Australian marine life.

S9: Integrating science to support management in the Kimberley (Convenor: Stuart Field, Department Parks and Wildlife WA)

The Kimberley, considered one of the last great wilderness areas, is subject to a slow increase in human pressures in the form of industry development and tourism. The Kimberley marine coastal system represents a complex and dynamic environment characterised by an extreme tidal range, ria coastline, turbid waters and fringing coral reef systems that support a high level of biodiversity including iconic marine fauna such as dugongs, turtles and whales. Aboriginal people have inhabited the Kimberley coastal region for countless generations and possess a strong attachment to country. Their responsibility for the sustainable management of Kimberley coastal country spans millennia and continues in the present day through their healthy country plans. In 2011 the Western Australian government announced the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy which includes the creation of a network of marine protected areas to conserve these valuable marine resources in collaboration with Traditional Owners. Building a regional understanding of the Kimberley waters and associated habitats and wildlife is critical to the long term conservation management of this unique marine environment. This symposium will present a range of research across themes and disciplines to provide an integrated picture of the physical, biological and social world of the Kimberley marine environment that can be used to support sustainable joint management of the region. 

S10: Climate impacts on marine system structure and function: molecules to ecosystems (Convenor: Karlie McDonald, CSIRO)

The effects of anthropogenic global environmental change on biotic and abiotic processes have been reported in aquatic systems across the world. This global change has manifested in marine systems through altered oceanographic, biogeochemical and hydrological mechanisms that regulate marine system structure and functioning at different spatial and biological scales. Complex synergies between concurrent environmental stressors and the resilience of the system variables to trophic cascades, which vary in space and time, determine the capacity for marine systems to maintain structure and functioning with global environmental change. Consequently, to effectively understand, quantify and predict climate impacts on marine systems, an interdisciplinary approach that facilitates the exchange of knowledge and the development of new methods across spatial and biological scales is required. The objective of this session is to integrate scientific knowledge of climate-induced change on the functioning of marine systems through the presentation of innovative research findings and technologies across multiple spatial and biological scales. Presentations are invited on novel approaches and recent advances in methods that utilise extensive datasets at different spatial and biological scales to further process-based understanding of marine system functioning in a globally changing environment. A special issue of Marine and Freshwater Research will be developed in association with this symposium.

S11: Crossing boundaries with marine genomics: new techniques, applications and integration. (Convenor: Allyson O’Brien, University of Melbourne)

Genomics is a rapidly advancing field of research that is used in many different disciplines worldwide. The application of genomics has relatively recently been used to study organisms in marine environments. This symposium will provide the opportunity to bring together students, researchers and practitioners using genomics in the Australian marine environment. Any field of research that is adapted for a new system provides opportunities for interactions between different disciplines. We would like to encourage speakers to present research that demonstrates the combination of genomics with other disciplines such as ecotoxicology, ecology, biogeography, invasive species management, environmental monitoring, marine megafauna, fisheries and aquaculture. Presentations could also focus on innovative ideas and solutions solving challenges associated with using genomics in the marine environment; including sampling design, laboratory protocols and bioinformatics. 

S12: Migratory fishes and their fisheries (Convenor: Lynnath Beckley, Murdoch University)

Around Australia, there is a diverse range of fishes that migrate over various distances (and sometimes between jurisdictions) through estuaries, coastal waters and across oceans (e.g., barramundi, Australian herring, tuna, sharks etc.). Many of these fish species are targeted by commercial, recreational, subsistence and/or traditional fisheries. In this symposium, papers will be encouraged that combine new information on the migratory behaviour and pathways of fishes with the human dimension in terms of the fisheries they support. 

S13: Commonwealth Marine Parks: research for management (Convenor: Amanda Parr, Parks Australia)

Australian Marine Parks, also known as Commonwealth Marine Reserves, cover around a third of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone and include sub-Antarctic to tropical environments. This symposium will address the range of knowledge about these vast and diverse offshore marine environments and discuss how this knowledge is, or can be, used in managing Australian Marine Parks. Presentations are invited that address the following questions: How do we improve our scientific understanding of these ecosystems? How to integrate our knowledge across marine science disciplines? How do we best ensure that the information is useful for managers? What are the highest priorities for research in Australian Marine Parks?

S15: Great Australian Bight – seeking whole-of-system understanding (Convenor: Jason Tanner, SARDI Aquatic Sciences)

The Great Australian Bight (GAB) is part of the world’s longest southern facing coastline. Its unusually broad continental shelf also supports the world’s largest temperate carbonate production system and has high levels of benthic biodiversity and endemism. Previous marine research in the GAB was concentrated in coastal waters and more recently on the continental shelf. The deep water assemblages and ecosystems of the GAB are poorly understood. Commonwealth and State governments, existing commercial users and a diverse range of academic, community and environmental groups have identified the need to develop a better understanding of the region’s environmental values, regulatory needs and development potential of the GAB. A complex array of ecological, economic and social issues needs to be addressed to optimize management of future activities. This symposium will include results from a large, integrated study of the ecological processes and socio-economic importance of the GAB that is being conducted through a collaborative research partnership involving two research agencies (CSIRO, South Australian Research and Development Institute), two universities (University of Adelaide, Flinders University of South Australia) and BP Australia.

S16: Observing the tropical northern waters (Convenor: Ana Lara-Lopez, IMOS)

Many of Australia’s most precious marine natural assets are located in the tropical northern seas. This area spans the iconic Ningaloo Reef in the west to the Great Barrier Reef in the east with the neighbouring Kimberley, Kakadu and Daintree rainforest in between. In addition, it is a region of major economic activities such as mining, agriculture, shipping, fishing, urban development, tourism and recreation. With the Integrated Marine Observing System completing its first decade, and a commensurate development of modelling systems and capability, this is allowing an unprecedented ability to gain an understanding of the coastal and marine environment and the extent to which they can accommodate economic development. For this symposium, we are seeking papers that showcase the available observational data and modelling applications in Australia’s Northern waters and what we are learning from them.

S17: Swimming the Talk: Management of Marine Megafauna in Australian Waters (Convenor: Carol Palmer, Northern Territory Government)

There are knowledge gaps for most marine megafauna species in Australia and many have an unresolved conservation status. Resources are limited which necessitates prioritisation of effort to those species where management actions will have the greatest on-ground benefit. However, this generally excludes actions that may resolve the conservation status of marine megafauna species. Given increasing pressure to develop northern Australia in particular, resolving the conservation status or at least determination of current population trends of vulnerable coastal species should also be a priority. Presentations are invited on the conservation of marine mega fauna.

S18: Marine spatial planning (Convenor: Hugh Kirkman)

Marine spatial planning allows all stakeholders to take part in planning and managing marine and coastal issues. Ecosystem-based management and resource use, marine protected areas shipping, cable and pipeline placement, offshore structures, fisheries, aquaculture, coastal development, climate change, ports and channel dredging, are all issues where the stakeholders need to integrate, govern and plan. Presentations are invited from researchers and managers involved in marine spatial planning.

S20: Small-scale commercial marine harvest: challenges and opportunities (Convenor: Karen Gibb, Charles Darwin University)

Artisanal and small-scale aquaculture programs represent foundational fisheries and aquaculture programs that could provide the catalyst for rolling out commercial fisheries ventures for remote and Indigenous communities locally and regionally. Sea-based aquaculture has the potential to drive new growth in remote communities, generating economic and employment opportunities for Indigenous people. However there are significant challenges in these small-scale programs – particularly when establishing governance and economic frameworks, quality assurance and compliance standards. However these additional requirements can also provide opportunities for up-skilling and economic opportunities. There is mounting evidence that co-operative knowledge, respected and shared, is pivotal if the venture is to be successful. This symposium will provide an opportunity to explore these issues. Presentations are invited in the areas of: Artisanal, Indigenous and small-scale aquaculture, opportunities and examples of shared knowledge in a range of enterprises, and lessons learnt that might inform the development of other small-scale aquaculture enterprises.


The Indigenous Engagement Workshop will be a round table discussion on a number of topics such as: building productive working relationships between indigenous rangers and researchers, knowledge exchange between groups. 

“AMSA is encouraging all delegates attending the AMSA 2017 conference in Darwin to attend the Indigenous Engagement Workshop on Friday 7th July, commencing at 9 a.m. You might look to set your travel plans accordingly.
Title: ‘Furthering sea country research through advancing Indigenous collaborations with marine scientists’

The NZMSS and AMSA 2016 Indigenous engagement workshop was held to provide the opportunity to start discussions and identify issues around Indigenous engagement in marine science. A major driver for the workshop was the need for more effective and meaningful collaborations between marine scientists and Indigenous groups in the area of sea country research. The follow up Indigenous engagement workshop being held at AMSA2017 intends to start the conversation around what is needed to develop collaborations through:

· Sharing examples of successful engagement: how did the partners get started on their collaborative research projects, why do they think these collaborations worked, how did the partners work together to troubleshoot problems along their journey and what were some potential road blocks that would have stopped their collaboration?

· Providing marine scientists with information on some key resources that are available to help them begin, so they can start on their journey of appropriate Indigenous engagement.

· Panel discussion around how and when to engage and what is still required to have successful engagement in sea country research collaborations.

This exchange of experiences, resources and knowledge will facilitate achieving the workshop objective ‘To promote Indigenous engagement in marine science by sharing information on successes and identifying what can be done to advance meaningful collaborations’.


Silver Sponsor

Special Sponsor supporting Indonesian Participation

Gala Dinner Sponsor

Coffee Cart Sponsor

IMOS Decade Session Sponsor

Satchel Sponsor

Symposium Sponsor - The World Harbour Project

Symposium Sponsor - Sustainable estuaries and societal benefits

Symposium Sponsor - Commonwealth Marine Parks: research for management

Symposium Sponsor - Remote sensing techniques for marine environments

Symposium Sponsor - Integrating science to support management in the Kimberley

Symposium Sponsor - Marine science to better guide environmental decision makers

Workshop Sponsor - Indigenous Engagement

Workshops Sponsor - Connectively in coastal habitat utilisation

NT Tourism Sponsor