Business Improvement

NAMRA – Reflecting on the North Australian Marine Research Alliance

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The North Australian Marine Research Alliance (NAMRA) was home to some of the world’s leading tropical marine researchers. They focused their attention on researching marine biodiversity and natural resource management, estuarine and costal processes (with an initial focus on Darwin Harbor), Ocean Dynamics, as well as Marine and Coastal Livelihoods and Governance.

NAMRA was an organisation which was based in Darwin and brought together the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Charles Darwin University (CDU), the Australian National University (ANU) and the Northern Territory Government (NTG) to build marine research capacity and capability in northern Australia.

NAMRA made the Darwin an early recipient of research focus, classifying the sea floor habitat with high resolution bathymetric mapping. They had complimenting work in bio-indicator research and hydrodynamic and water quality modelling in Darwin Harbor, which involved the Larrakia Rangers (traditional owners in the Darwin Harbor Region).

The organisation brought together both collaborators and stakeholders alike to better understand the unique north Australian marine environment and to contribute to the sustainable development and management of marine resources in the region.

Projecting a Healthier World
The research projects from the NAMRA organisation, use collaborations to maintain their effort to save and improve the marine as well as the marine and coastal livelihoods.

The impact of ghost nets on the sea turtle population was explored by Dr Kiki Dethmers with key NAMRA partners (AIMS – Hydrodynamic modelling, ANU – genetics and NT Government – Marine Wild-watch program). The research brought light to the lost and abandoned fishing gear, including “ghost nets” and their posed threat to marine animals. The Arafura Timor Seas (ATS) is a region which was found to have high levels of sea turtle mortality, because of the creatures getting entangled in the nets and dying from either exhaustion or starvation. The research project emphasised the dangers of these nets and the consequence from a lack of action being the depletion of sea turtle nests to the point of them risking extinction.

Dr Pierre Feutry led the collaboration between Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory Fisheries and CSIRO, into the support management of listed and rare species. The project aimed to improve the understanding and management of data-poor, rarely encountered, threatened riverine and estuarine shark and ray (elasmobranch) species, through the development of population monitoring and integrated assessment strategies. Their initial focus was on Freshwater Sawfish Pristis microdon and Speartooth Shark Glyphis in several selected rivers of the Northern Territory. With the threatened sawfishes (Pristis species) and river sharks (Glyphis species) of northern Australia as the species of focus.

Fellowships, Scholarships and Friendships
NAMRA welcomed many with new opportunities, providing a chance to work with them through scholarships and fellowships.

Their Postdoctoral fellowship was open to two eligible individuals who were no more then five years out of the completion of their PhD. If the project aligned with the theme of “Marine and Coastal Livelihoods and Governance, or Ocean Dynamics,” they were willing to fund the research for up to three years, with the inclusion of $20,000 p.a. for operational support. NAMRA and their partners aimed to collaborate with the researchers to produce the best possible result for the marine.

The generosity of NAMRA extended to students as two students had the opportunity to receive scholarships at the rate of $15,000 p.a. stipend and $15,000 p.a. operational, for up to three years. This choice encouraged many to align their research with the organisation’s themes and use their research to help the marine, in some capacity.

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