Message from the Science Leader

Message from the Science Leader

In this issue of the Tropical Ecosystems Hub newsletter, Fiona McDuie and Brad Congdon from JCU provide the first conclusive proof that wedge-tailed shearwaters from the Great Barrier Reef over winter far away in the Northern Hemisphere adding a significant complication to the local management of this species.

Katharina Fabricius from AIMS reports on the first long-term tracking of turbidity in the GBR Lagoon linking the sediments and nutrients in river discharges with water clarity up to 80km from the coast. The positive finding from this research is the ability of the coastal system to sequester these materials and return to clearer conditions, which implies that reducing such contaminants at the source should produce rapid and widespread benefits for water quality.

John Brodie and Jane Waterhouse from JCU have completed an assessment of threats to water quality in the Torres Strait, which is not necessarily influenced by major flood plumes. Their finding that a big risk to regional water quality is the number of vessels transiting through the Straits driven by demand from outside the region reminds us of the broad-scale connectivity of coastal systems and activities.

Bob Pressey and his team from JCU extend this perspective to conservation planning for a changing coastal zone and highlight the cumulative impacts arising from multiple and interacting pressures. In a second project, Bob and others ask how best to invest limited resources in conservation management.

Cathy Dichmont from CSIRO asks whether local communities can find solutions for managing inshore coastal biodiversity. Finally Colin Simpfendorfer of JCU highlights the variable nature of inshore shark nurseries as one example of the multiple values that we are trying to conserve in these coastal systems.

I hope you find something new and interesting in this sample of outputs from the Tropical Ecosystems Hub and that it will make you want to learn more about all 39 projects in the program. As always, the best place to do this is the Hub website:

Dr. Peter Doherty, AIMS

For more information, contact Dr. Peter Doherty at:


Publication Type: 


Search by Project