AnnRoeBIM – 2016

In October 2016, WRM sponsored and took part in the 2016 Anna Plains and Roebuck Bay Benthic Invertebrate Mapping (AnnRoeBIM) Expedition, in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), BHP and the Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

Roebuck Bay and nearby Eighty Mile Beach are world-renowned as non-breeding sites for migratory shorebirds. These small to medium-sized birds, such as sandpipers, plovers, curlews and knots, nest in the far northern hemisphere, in habitats ranging from Mongolian steppes to high arctic tundra. In the non-breeding season, they inhabit and depend on intertidal mudflats, such as those at Roebuck Bay and Eighty Mile Beach, where they feed on the rich and diverse benthic invertebrate communities.

The month-long AnnRoeBIM expedition resulted in the collection of over 1300 core samples from the mudflats of the two Ramsar listed locations, in which 32,500 individual organisms were measured and identified. Over 433 different benthic invertebrate taxa were collected from the expedition, leading to the development of an invertebrate identification guide for the intertidal mudflats. This information is essential in helping conserve the immense and internationally shared natural values of these important shorebird sites, and finding informed compromises with the increasing use of the foreshore by the human population in the Kimberley Region.

In addition to the development of a guide, the Roebuck Bay Working Group has recently received funding to premiere “Life in the Long Mud”, a short film by Paul Bell who ventured out onto the mud flats with sampling teams to capture the action. In 2018, this film will be shown at the iconic Sun Cinemas in Broome as to educate and inform the public about the importance of these wetlands and associated ecosystems.

Watch Life in the Long Mud below. For a higher quality version, visit http://www.roebuckbay.org.au/roebuck-bay-films/