Exmouth Research Lab

The Minderoo Foundation Exmouth Research Lab provides scientists with state-of-the-art facilities enabling high quality, high-impact marine research, on the doorstep of the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef.


The lab is attracting the world’s best marine researchers and scientists to the Ningaloo coast to study and improve ocean health and resilience.

This unique facility achieves the level of sophisticated environment control required to simulate conditions associated with climate change from temperature and acidification. It also supports the latest molecular testing equipment. Combining the aquaria and genetics lab under one roof has already allowed critical research into identifying heat-resilient coral that can survive damaging heatwaves. The molecular laboratory is also enabling environmental DNA fingerprinting to monitor endangered sea snakes and wedgefish, and unlock forensic techniques to reveal the movements and behaviour of whale sharks.

Keep up to date

Take a tour of the facilities



The Exmouth Research Lab is in the coastal town of Exmouth, which is approximately 1270km north of Perth.

Exmouth is situated on the northeastern side of the Cape Range Peninsula and faces Exmouth Gulf.

The western side of Cape Range Peninsula is fringed by the Ningaloo Reef. The Ningaloo Reef Marine Park and adjoining Cape Range National Park are situated inside The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area.

The resident population is approximately 2,500 but visitors can greatly increase this number during the main tourism season.

Exmouth is serviced by Learmouth Airport, which is situated about 37km south of Exmouth.

See the data from our smart buoy that relays temperature information and latest conditions in real time.



Exmouth is characterised by a semi-arid climate with a long-term average rainfall of about 250mm/year (based on the Learmouth rainfall station). Mean maximum temperatures range from 38°C in January to 24.4°C in July. The northwest Australian coastline between Broome and Exmouth is the most cyclone-prone region of the entire Australian coastline, having the highest frequency of coastal crossings.

The two closest BOM weather recording sites to Exmouth are:

Learmonth Airport Site # 005007; Lat: 22.24 °S Long: 114.10 °E
Vlamingh Head Site # 005024; Lat: 21.81 °S Long: 114.11 °E

Timing Considerations

  • Mar – Apr: Coral spawning.
  • Apr – Jul: Peak whale shark season in Exmouth, the annual Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival usually takes place in July.
  • Apr – Sep: Moderate temperatures.
  • Jun – Nov: Exmouth’s peak whale-watching (and visitor) season.
  • Aug – Nov: Peak wildflower season in Exmouth.
  • Dec – Mar: Very hot temperatures.


The Exmouth Research Lab uses solar energy for 100 per cent of its electricity needs during daylight hours.

The use of single-use plastic bags and similar are discouraged at the Exmouth Research Lab and throughout Exmouth more generally. Please use non-plastic bags or cardboard cartons for carrying shopping.

Contact us

2 Truscott Crescent, Exmouth, Western Australia.

For all enquiries, please contact us via this email: MERL@minderoo.org.

Before contacting the Exmouth Research Lab, please check if your questions can be answered by the information on this page.


  • Michaela Dommisse, Head of Marine Research and Innovation 
  • Peter Farrell, Operations Manager
  • Kate Kiefer, MERL Facilities Manager
  • Nikki De Campe, Research Coordinator
  • Graeme Denny, Senior Marine Technician
  • Katherine Murphy, Marine Technician
  • Kate Quigley, Research Director
  • Carly Keech, Research and Communications