About Us

The Aquatic Megafauna Research Unit (AMRU) is a part of the Murdoch University Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems (CSAE) within the Harry Butler Institute (HBI). AMRU has formerly been known as the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit (MUCRU), which was established in 2006 with a focus on marine mammals and has now grown into one of the leading groups for marine megafauna research in the world.

The name of the research group acknowledges the diversity of research that occurs within the group around the world across several megafauna taxa including cetaceans (whales and dolphins), sirenians (dugongs) and elasmobranchs (manta rays). AMRU collaborates on projects throughout Australia, Indo-Pacific, North America, Mexico, United Arab Emirites (UAE) and the Pacific Islands.

What we do

The overall aim of AMRU is to provide effective science for the conservation and management of aquatic megafauna including cetaceans, sirenians and elasmobranchs. We strive to design and conduct rigorous applied and fundamental research that supports industry and government in meeting their environmental, regulatory and statutory responsibilities. AMRU has six core research areas:


Population Biology

An extensive amount of research done at AMRU is the biological study of animal populations focussed on estimating abundance, distribution, genetics and species interactions.
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Behavioural ecology

The field study of animal behaviour and the interaction of animals with their environment, coupled with appropriate statistical analyses.
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Human Impacts

The interaction between human activities in the aquatic environment and the sustainability of animal populations.
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Innovative techniques

The conservation and management of marine mammal species requires innovative ways to monitor their population status and habitat use.
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Marine mammal health

We strive to assess and monitor the health of marine mammals to support both the early detection of adverse impacts from natural and anthropogenic pressures.
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Citizen Science

Harnessing observations and input from the general public to maximize the spatial and temporal patterns in animal distribution.
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Coral Bay Research Station

Coral Bay/Ningaloo, Western Australia

AMRU is part of the North West Research Association (NRWA), which promotes research in the North West Cape region of WA. The research station in Coral Bay has been operational since 2004 with the building being generously donated by the Brogan family. The research station offers field, laboratory and office facilities and accommodation to undertake research in the region.

There are boats and a 4WD vehicle available for researchers to use, and a recently donated glass-bottomed boat is currently being converted into a floating laboratory. Dive equipment and microscopes are also available for use by researchers.

For more information on the Coral Bay Research Station click here, and contact the Director, Mike van Keulen (M.Keulen@murdoch.edu.au).

Blogs from the field

Contact Us

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