Ecosystem Reference
Ecosystem Northwest Australian Shelf
Type Sea/Bay/Gulf
Salinity saltwater
Other Names
LME SAU No 45. LME2002, LME2006, SAU 2008. 7° S 19° S - 119° E 130° E
Location Map Northwest_Australian_Shelf.png
Size Ref
River Length Area 911716 km2 Drainage Area
Average Depth Max Depth Ref
Surface 27.8 °C Map165.gif
100 Meters Depth 23.5 °C Map166.gif
Description The Northwest Australia Large Marine Ecosystem extends from North West Cape in the State of Western Australia, to the vicinity of the Timor Sea. The LME has a wide continental shelf and it includes topographical features such as the Exmouth Plateau, the Rowley Shelf and the Sahul Shelf. The continental shelf system is characterized by a high-energy tidal regime. The LME is positioned on the path of the Indonesian Throughflow, a warm-water current flowing from the Pacific into the Indian Ocean. This current warms the LME’s sea surface and increases rainfall over Western Australia. Rainfall however is irregular, with occasional cyclonic disturbances and flash flooding resulting in brown sediments. The tropical waters are warm, and the coast includes reefs and extensive mangrove forests. Tropical cyclones are common seasonal events in this LME. Cyclones exert pronounced effects on the continental shelf and on coastal marine ecosystems. The rainfall that accompanies cyclonic weather systems can be a major source of freshwater to the region, causing widespread though episodic flooding (
Comments on faunal list Area from SAU (November 2015).
Ecosystem Checklist Link
SeaLifeBase Literature
Species Families Species Families Reference
167 62
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