Advances in Large-Scale Mudflat Surveying: The Roebuck Bay and Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia Examples
The shores of Roebuck Bay and Eighty Mile Beach in northwestern Australia are amongst the richest known intertidal mudflats worldwide. They are both listed as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, primarily because of the high numbers of shorebirds that migrate to and from these sites every year. There are only a dozen or so areas in the world with extensive intertidal flats rich in shorebirds.
Shorebird studies by a collaboration between The Department of Environment and Conservation, The University of Western Australia, The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Central Washington University, Broome Bird Observatory, and local community volunteers in northwestern Australia have focused on understanding the geological and biological processes of coastal tidal mudflats. Studies have established that invertebrates are abundant and they are used for feeding by resident and migratory shorebirds.
In addition to requiring equipment, software, and considerable organization, these labor intensive studies were only possible with the assistance of large numbers of community volunteers, professionals, and donated equipment.
KeywordsNeap Tide Intertidal Flat Ramsar Convention Ramsar Site Northern Shore
A great many people have contributed to the success of these community based research projects that have established Roebuck Bay and Eighty Mile Beach as special wetlands with unique properties. To all these people we express our gratitude and our hope that we can continue to work together on projects that strengthen the arguments for conservation of these wetlands.
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