The Biogeography of the Australian North West Shelf

The Biogeography of the Australian North West Shelf

Environmental Change and Life's Response

1st Edition - June 11, 2013

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  • Author: Barry Wilson
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124095168
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124114883

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The Biogeography of the Australian North West Shelf provides the first assembly of existing information of the North West Shelf in terms of geological, oceanographic and climatological history and current understanding of such issues as biodiversity, connectivity, larval dispersal and speciation in the sea that determine the distribution patterns of its invertebrate fauna. It is intended as a source of information and ideas on the biota of the shelf and its evolutionary origins and affinities and the environmental drivers of species’ ecology and distribution and ecosystem function. Regulators and industry environmental managers worldwide, but especially on the resource-rich North West Shelf, are faced with having to make decisions without adequate information or understanding of conservation values or the factors that drive ecosystem processes and resilience in the face of increasing anthropogenic and natural change. This book will provide a resource of information and ideas and extensive references to issues of primary concern. It will provide a big-picture narrative, putting the marine biota into a geological, evolutionary, and regional biodiversity context.

Key Features

  • The first book to cover the major benthic habitats and physical and ecological condition of the North West Shelf of Australia
  • Covers new information on geomorphology and biota of coral reefs and other invertebrate habitats that are key species and functional groups of the North West Shelf
  • Introduces new ideas on biogeographic processes and patterns in tropical seas


Marine science researchers, environmental and resource managers, regulators, and consultants

Table of Contents

  • Foreword


    Chapter 1. Introduction

    1.1 The Geographic Scope of This Study

    1.2 The Intent and Utility of Biogeography

    1.3 Biogeographic Classification of the Northern Australian Coast


    Chapter 2. The Contemporary Physical Environment

    2.1 Geology, Origins, and History of the Northwest Continental Margin

    2.2 The Oceanography of the North West Shelf


    Chapter 3. Intertidal Rocky Shores

    3.1 Rock Types

    3.2 Rock Platforms

    3.3 The Intertidal Biota of Rocky Shores


    Chapter 4. Coral Reefs of the North West Shelf

    4.1 History of Discovery and Description

    4.2 Conditions for Coral Reef Growth

    4.3 Categories of Coral Reef on the North West Shelf

    4.4 Coral Reef Bioregions on the North West Shelf

    4.5 Intertidal Assemblages Coral Reef Plants and Invertebrates

    4.6 Section Summary


    Chapter 5. Mangrove Habitat and Associated Fauna

    5.1 The Mangrove Species

    5.2 Mangrove Biogeographic Regions in Western Australia

    5.3 Ecological Associations and Distribution

    5.4 Primary and Secondary Production

    5.5 Associated Mangal Invertebrate Fauna

    5.6 Molluscs

    5.7 Crustaceans


    Chapter 6. Habitats and Biotic Assemblages of Intertidal Sandy and Muddy Shores

    6.1 History of Research

    6.2 Sandy Shores

    6.3 Mudflats


    Chapter 7. Benthic

    7.1 The Continental Shelf

    7.2 Continental Slope (Bathyal)


    Chapter 8. Patterns of Life and the Processes That Produce Them

    8.1 Biogeographic Affinities

    8.2 Biodiversity

    8.3 Latitudinal Gradients in Biodiversity

    8.4 Connectivity

    8.5 Speciation

    8.6 Typical Distribution Patterns of North West Shelf Benthic Invertebrates

    8.7 Endemism


    Chapter 9. An Overview of the Historical West Shelf

    9.1 Breakup of the Sea of Tethys and Its Biogeographic Consequences

    9.2 The Contact Period and the Exchange of Species Between Two Continents

    9.3 Two Sides of the Story

    9.4 The Marine Fauna of the Modern North West Shelf

    9.5 Biogeographic Classification of the Northern Australian Region

    9.6 Subdivisions of the Dampierian Province

    9.7 Last Words



Product details

  • No. of pages: 640
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2013
  • Published: June 11, 2013
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124095168
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124114883

About the Author

Barry Wilson

Barry Wilson graduated with Honours in science from the University of Western Australia (zoology and geology majors) and was awarded a PhD from that university in 1965 with a thesis on the reproductive biology and ecology of marine molluscs. This was followed by a post-doctoral appointment as Fulbright Scholar and Research Fellow in the School of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Barry has published many research papers on molluscan systematics and coral reef biology and six reference books on Australian marine molluscs.

Barry is an experienced scuba diver (initially self taught in the 1950s when there were no instructors around) and a proficient undersea photographer. He has had extensive marine field experience in the Australian, Pacific and South East Asian regions. He led a biological survey to the Moluccus in 1970 aboard an American research vessel. In 1973, he participated in an American survey of crown-of-thorns seastars in Micronesia and followed this with a three-year research program on crown-of-thorns infestations on coral reefs in northern Western Australia.

Barry has held positions as Curator of Molluscs at the Western Australian Museum, Director of the National Museum of Victoria (Melbourne) and Director of Nature Conservation in Western Australia. He served for 9 years as Chairman of the Western Australian Marine Parks & Reserves Authority (responsible for the establishment and management of that State's extensive marine conservation reserves system) and 7 years as a Director and Managing Director of an organisation known as the Australian Wildlife Conservancy that has built a network of private conservation reserves for endangered species throughout Australia.

Now, after "retirement", Barry provides consulting services to Government and industry, mainly in marine science and environmental protection on the North West Self.

In 2001 Barry Wilson was awarded the Australian Centennial Medal for distinguished service in marine science.

Affiliations and Expertise

Research Associate, Western Australian Museum, Perth, Australia

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