Western Australian Naturalists Club

Encouraging the study and protection of the natural environment

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Sawfish of the Kimberley

20 March, 7:30 pm-9:30 pm

Pistris pistris, Townsville.  Simon Fraser University – University Communications [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
With the NS BRANCH

Tonight, Karissa Lear (PhD candidate, Murdoch University) will speak on “Sawfish of the Kimberley”

The Fitzroy River in the Kimberley, WA, hosts four of the world’s five highly threatened sawfish species, including the Critically Endangered Freshwater Sawfish (Pristis pristis). This species has undergone a major global decline, and the Fitzroy River now represents their last known intact nursery habitat. However, this region is under increasing threat from both climate change and pressure to develop water resources for agricultural use. Murdoch University’s Team Sawfish has been studying sawfish in the Fitzroy for almost 20 years with the goal of informing proper management of the Fitzroy for conservation of sawfish.

Karissa Lear is finishing her PhD at Murdoch University, where she studies the behaviour and physiology of sharks and rays. She has worked in shark science for six years, first in the U.S. before moving to Perth, and predominantly uses tagging technology including accelerometers to study wild fish in their natural environment. Her current work focuses on determining how climate change and land use will impact Bull Sharks and Critically Endangered Freshwater Sawfish in the Fitzroy River in the western Kimberley, with the aim of informing management of this unique ecosystem.

Members are reminded to bring specimens, observations, photos etc. for everyone to learn and enjoy and please remember to wear your name tag.


20 March
7:30 pm-9:30 pm
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Don Poynton
0419 460 301


Karissa Lear
Sawfish of the Kimberley


Henderson Environmental Centre
Henderson Environmental Centre End of Groat St
North Beach, Western Australia Australia
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