Water quality

A key policy to minimising the effects of climate change on tropical marine organisms (e.g. coral bleaching and loss of seagrass cover) is to improve water quality, thereby reducing the potential for pollution to exacerbate the effects of thermal stress (Reef Plan, 2009).  While pesticides are thought to contribute to stress on nearshore habitats, little is known of their chronic effects on tropical species or their persistence in tropical waters.

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.

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.


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