Project 5.1 'Understanding diversity of the Great Barrier Reef: Spatial and temporal dynamics and environmental drivers'

Project 5.1 'Understanding diversity of the Great Barrier Reef: Spatial and temporal dynamics and environmental drivers'

Our current knowledge of diversity of the Great Barrier Reef and the mechanisms that determine it are minimal.  Based on a new statistical model of diversity, researchers will map the diversities of biota and environments of the Reef, and will relate biotic diversity to spatial, environmental and temporal drivers. These relationships will be interpreted in the context of risk, zoning and management.  The project will be based on existing long-term and large-scale data from the Reef (including Long Term Monitoring Program data on coral cover and density of crown-of-thorns starfish, seafloor diversity data, large-scale diversity surveys of octocorals and corals, water quality data, bleaching history data, satellite derived sea-surface temperature and ocean colour history data, Bureau of Meteorology path and intensity of tropical cyclones).  

The results and outputs of this research will be published in high impact, peer-reviewed journals, and may substantially inform the GBRMPA Outlook Report. Maps and other summaries will be available through the e-Atlas.

Project objectives at a glance

  • Map the diversities of fishes, corals, other biota and environments of the Great Barrier Reef at optimal spatial and temporal scales.
  • Determine the main drivers of diversity on the Great Barrier Reef, and quantify their effects in terms of loss, gain and turnover of diversity.
  • Quantify changes in space and time of reef and seafloor diversities, and provide diversity-based indicators of reef health.
  • Enhance our knowledge and understanding of biodiversity on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Assess the effects of the zoning on diversity on reefs and the seafloor.

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

Project Factsheet

Technical Reports

Relating Fish Diversity to Environmental Drivers and the Great Barrier Reef Zoning


Link to the Project 5.1 homepage on e-Atlas


Project Duration: 
1 Jul 2011 to 31 Dec 2014


Project People