Project 1.1 'Monitoring status and trends of coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef'

Project 1.1 'Monitoring status and trends of coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef'

Funding for this project supports the AIMS Long Term Monitoring Program (LTMP), which provides the GBRMPA with current information to support the delivery of its Outlook Report for the Great Barrier Reef.  In 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 the LTMP will resurvey ‘core’ reefs that have been surveyed since 1992; data from the 2012/2013 monitoring season will provide a critical source of up to date information on the status and trends of GBR reefs for the 2014 Outlook Report.

The last five years have seen three unusually large cyclones (Larry, Hamish and Yasi) hit parts of the GBR.  In sum they have affected a large proportion of reefs in the central and southern GBR.  How rapidly reef communities recover from the effects of these large cyclones is critical to the long-term persistence of the GBR.  Monitoring data provides information on the coral and fish communities before and after the cyclones and surveys of juvenile corals will give an early indication of regenerative potential.

Records of change in coral cover on LTMP survey sites since the early 1990s showed that the crown-of-thorns starfish was the major cause of coral loss up until the last two years when large cyclones became the leading cause. Reefs in the area north of Cairns where waves of outbreaks are thought to begin will be surveyed to provide early warning of developing outbreaks.

Project objectives at a glance

  • Ongoing ‘situational awareness’ for the GBRMPA in its management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park through continuation of a unique data set on the dynamics of coral reef communities of the GBR, providing both a spatial and temporal context for the status of GBR reefs.
  • Provision of up-to-date information on the status of GBR reefs for the scheduled Outlook Report 2014 for GBRMPA and SEWPaC.
  • Early warning of developing waves of crown-of-thorns starfish for the GBRMPA and AMPTO.

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

Project Factsheet

Technical Reports

The status of crown-of-thorns starfish populations on the Great Barrier Reef from AIMS surveys


Link to the Project 1.1 homepage on e-Atlas


Project Duration: 
1 Jul 2011 to 31 Dec 2014


Project People

Project Research Partners