Marine park science

All over the world, scientists agree that marine parks are a good thing. Decades of research has shown that preserving sections of the ocean from activities such as development, mining, fishing and pollution results in healthier marine environments that are more resistant to threats like climate change and invasive pests. They also tend to support healthier and bigger fish populations, which in turn leads to better fishing in surrounding areas.

The evidence of the benefits of marine parks is overwhelming, and South Australia’s marine parks are built on that science.

Our marine parks were designed with the help of some of Australia’s most esteemed marine scientists; people who are respected internationally for their research.

They, along with the community, industry and others, helped carefully design the location of our marine sanctuaries using the best science available, to preserve selections of our ocean wilderness that include important fish breeding areas, reefs, seagrass beds, offshore islands and a host of other important places.

The team continues to work closely with Flinders University and the University of Tasmania to carry out regular research around the state - research that will help us better understand our precious waters and manage them better into the future.

Science is shining a light in the deep and the things we have learned and will learn in the future will help preserve the economic viability of our coastal communities, our fisheries and tourism industries as well as help conserve the ecological integrity of our marine ecosystems.

Find out about the monitoring and research requirements for the Marine Parks Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Program (1.91mb pdf).

Five scientific facts about southern Australian waters 

  • Southern Australia has a greater diversity of marine life than the Great Barrier Reef. About 85 per cent of the life found in southern Australian waters is found nowhere else on earth.
  • Our marine parks have been established to protect this life and to give scientists a chance to study it in an undisturbed environment.
  • South Australia’s marine parks team uses a combination of swathe, sonar, video, aerial photography and satellite imagery, as well as dive surveys and baited remote underwater video systems, to study South Australia’s seas and the life found within them.
  • South Australia’s marine parks team have been involved in a range of ground-breaking research, including electronic tracking of Australian sea lions, great white sharks and reef fish including blue gropers and harlequin fish.
  • South Australia’s marine parks team is involved in a research project looking at the genetic links between  Australia’s marine plants and animals to determine just how much different populations interbreed.