Cygnet Bay Pearls: EOI to join the Kimberley Marine Research Station

Written on the 7 August 2017

Cygnet Bay Pearls: EOI to join the Kimberley Marine Research Station The Kimberley Marine Research Station (KMRS), located at the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, was established in 2009 by marine biologist and 3rd generation pearl farmer James Brow after his return from university and work on the Great Barrier Reef.

James principally worked as a diver for the family pearl farm on his return and what he saw shocked him.  The text book descriptions which describe how tropical marine environments worked and functioned just didn't hold true in his own back yard. 

With massive tides creating unique ecosystems, particularly in intertidal zones, corals that should die with the smallest change in temperature happily basking in the sun at low tide.  Fish and other marine life exhibiting completely different behaviour from anything described in text books, James knew that science had a lot to learn.  "The Kimberley will write a whole new chapter in our understanding of tropical marine ecology," he says.

"It's a new frontier for science and potentially a gold mine of new discoveries."

To facilitate this research in a region restricted by isolation, lack of services and infrastructure and the natural extremes in climate and tides, a Kimberley research base was required.  James believed his family-owned pearl farm could help fill the void by making available their facility and local expertise to the science world.

The Western Australian Marine Science Institute (WAMSI) wanted to establish a Kimberley research program and quickly realised the opportunity of the innovative KMRS, which lead to the KMRS becoming the first Industry Associate Member of WAMSI.  Being the only independent marine research station in Australia and one of only three in the world, this collaboration has led to a long list of national and international researchers taking advantage of the facility.

The overarching ethos of the station is to conduct independent scientific research which endeavours to be used for the greater public good, working towards bridging knowledge gaps on the remarkable marine environment.  KMRS provides much needed on-the-ground support to facilitate opportunities for all levels of marine research.  The aim of the station is to develop the science required to build baseline datasets to inform decision making processes, and to increase awareness and appreciation of the region's unique and remarkable marine ecosystems and oceanic processes.  To date the research in the field has grown and diversified, and most importantly, has constructed a base of information on the Kimberley's marine environments, which was absent prior to 2009.

The Bardi and Jawi people are the Traditional Owners of the top of the Dampier Peninsula where Cygnet Bay is located.  KMRS acknowledges and respects the cultural values associated with the Bardi-Jawi coastline and operates within the scope of this important parameter.  They are seafaring people whose customs and lives continue to revolve around the ocean, and provide a remarkable source of cultural knowledge which has enormous capacity to complement and inform contemporary western science.  KMRS remains dedicated to creating opportunities ad sustained partnerships with the Bardi-Jawi people, such as a close working relationship with the Bardi-Jawi Indigenous Ranger Program.

Interested in joining the team?
KMRS takes on marine and environmental science students/graduates as career entry level interns year-round for two to three month periods.  As future leaders and decision-makers in the field, the interns are exposed to commercial aquaculture practice with a range of on-boat and shore-based field work, trained in laboratory techniques, report writing, data analysis and media engagement as well as being provided with networking opportunities.  Each intern has been able to shape KMRS' future with their fresh perspective and own expertise in addition to gaining knowledge and experience through ongoing work.

Interested students/graduates should contact: 
Phone:     + 61 8 9192 4999

For further information go to

Get your copy of The Australian Pearl Magazine in-store at Cygnet Bay Pearls (Dampier Terrace).

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