Great Barrier Reef

For each of the four Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions between Gladstone and Port Douglas, this project aims to deliver an improved understanding of the quantitative relationships between changing deliveries of suspended solids from their main river ways to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and changes in the coastal water clarity within their region.

This project will develop a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) framework using a stakeholder driven approach to qualitatively integrate our understanding of the key drivers of change in the GBR inshore ecosystem and human uses, with an emphasis on biodiversity and inshore multi-species fisheries management.

Coral reefs are showing evidence of decline on local, regional and global scales. Historical overfishing, nutrient loading and terrestrial discharge, combined with more recent threats of global warming, coral bleaching, ocean acidification and disease have resulted in long-term losses of abundance, diversity and habitat structure. Since European settlement of the Queensland coastline in the mid-19th century, extensive land use changes in the GBR catchment region have occurred resulting from grazing, agriculture and land clearance.

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.

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 u

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