Project 1.2 'Marine wildlife management in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area'

Project 1.2 'Marine wildlife management in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area'

Marine wildlife are significant components of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area’s biodiversity and are threatened by a variety of anthropogenic pressures. In particular, populations of inshore dolphins are very small and at risk, there are serious concerns for dugong populations along the urban coast (south of Cooktown) and marine turtles are listed as threatened species and are at risk along the Queensland coast due to coastal change.

The GBRMPA’s Outlook Report highlights that there is, (1) currently little information available on inshore dolphins of the GBRWHA, (2) a need to continue the time series of dugong abundance data to strengthen population estimates for the GBRWHA, and (3) understand the ecosystem role and the impact of coastal change on marine turtle and dugong populations.

Project 1.2 has three focal areas – inshore dolphins, dugongs and green turtles – and will use monitoring, genetics, satellite tracking and remote sensing to develop:

  1. An understanding of the distribution and status of inshore dolphins in the northern GBRWHA;
  2. Population estimates for dugongs along the GBRWHA coast (in relation to previous surveys); and
  3. An understanding of the role of green turtles and dugongs in coastal ecosystems.

This project aims to improve stakeholder understanding, capacity and skills to better manage priority species and provide valuable data that is useable and understandable to those making decisions regarding marine wildlife.

Project objectives at a glance

  • Defined status of inshore dolphins in the northern GBRWHA.
  • Revised estimates of dugong abundance within the GBRWHA.
  • Understanding of ecological and biological connectivity, ecological role and habitat use of dugongs and marine turtles in relation to protected areas and TUMRAs and areas impacted by severe weather events.
  • Understanding of food web inter-relationships.
  • PhD thesis examining the ecosystem role of green turtles and dugongs in the coastal zone.

Specific objectives and intended outputs of this Project are detailed in the NERP TE Hub Multi-Year Research Plan.

Project Factsheet

Technical & Survey Reports

Aerial survey of the urban coast of Queensland to evaluate the response of the dugong population to the widespread effects of the extreme weather events of the summer of 2010-11

Looking for Palangal (dolphins) and Balangal (dugongs) in Girringun Sea Country


Link to the Project 1.2 homepage on e-Atlas


Project Duration: 
1 Jul 2011 to 31 Dec 2014


Project Research Partners