On World Oceans Day, Australia is celebrating its marine Wetlands of International Importance, including Ashmore Reef, located off the north coast of Western Australia. The wetlands is managed as part of Australia’s marine park network. New data about these ecosystems is available through a recent collaborative research voyage by The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australian Marine Parks and the University of Western Australia Oceans Institute.
Ashmore Reef Marine Park is a haven for seabirds, turtles, dugongs and rich suite of species both under and above the water. It has the most diverse marine fish fauna of any region in Western Australia. It is also thought to have the highest number of reef-building coral species (upwards of 255 species) of any area off the state’s coast. Each year around 100,000 birds breed on the islands, and many migratory shorebird species stop by on their long-haul journeys along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
Its pristine ecosystems make it a valuable site for biodiversity conservation and an important scientific research site.