Defining biodiversity gaps for North West Shelf marine invertebrates
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After almost six decades of fieldwork on the North West Shelf (NWS), contemporary partnered expeditions have begun to discover and document the diverse marine biota of this area. Recent historical syntheses from the Western Australian Museum’s Kimberley Project indicate over 5500 species occur in an area that includes much of the northern NWS. This compendium of biodiversity provides a new and important baseline of marine knowledge for the region. However, when considered with other NWS studies, several long-standing research gaps are evident, particularly for marine invertebrate taxa. Here we highlight and discuss these gaps in knowledge that can be grouped into five major categories: geographic, faunal, ecological, methodological and engagement. By directing future research towards these gaps, we hope to build a more complete dataset for managers tasked with protecting the many significant marine ecosystems in this extensive region.
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