ProgramsMTSRF

MTSRF synthesis products were published and made available during the second half of 2010.

A key deliverable of the MTSRF Research Programme is a suite of ‘synthesis’ products that have been developed to ensure MTSRF-generated information is presented to research users and key stakeholders clearly and concisely, and that the information is timely, useful and accessible.

Synthesis reports and other documents are in preparation and will be peer-reviewed before being published by the Reef & Rainforest Research Centre.

Synthesis products will include:

  • Briefing note-style, plain English summaries of MTSRF research results in a highly topical subject area, which highlight implications for management/policy/practice and are aimed at identified research users;
  • Highly technical and complex science synthesis of MTSRF-related advances in a topical field, published as part of the MTSRF Research Report Series or as a review-style paper in an open-access peer-reviewed academic journal;
  • ‘Synthetic overviews’, which put MTSRF-generated research outputs into social, cultural and regulatory context across broad topical issues that cut across several MTSRF themes; and
  • A series of maps and explanatory/supporting material that is publicly available via the e-Atlas website, aimed at presenting spatial data in a form that is most accessible to end users.

Where possible, emphasis has been placed on not only local Queensland outcomes of MTSRF-funded research, but also on the potential transferability of new methods or results to other parts of Australia and the region.

Program 10 (Theme 5) C2O Consulting Devlin & Waterhouse (2010) Improved understanding of biophysical and socioeconomic connections between catchment and reef ecosystems: Wet and Dry Tropics case studies
This report provides an overview of the key findings of research conducted through the MTSRF designed to improve our understanding of the linkages between catchment and reef processes, and how the quality of water from paddock, sub-catchment, catchment and marine systems can directly and indirectly influence the ecological functioning of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The research aimed to inform and facilitate management action and remediation to reduce, restore and increase resilience of the inshore GBR ecosystems. The research findings are also applicable elsewhere, particularly in tropical ecosystems, but many outcomes can be translated for broader application in catchment and marine ecosystem management. Over the past thirty years an increasing amount of research and monitoring effort has been devoted to documenting and understanding the nature and importance of water quality issues for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Attention has become focused on land-based runoff as a primary source of pollutants into the GBR. This report reviews, synthesises and analyses the work carried out over the course of the four-year MTSRF program in relation to our current understanding of the relationships between catchment processes, pollutant loads delivered to instream environments (including wetlands and estuaries) and the marine environment, and the impacts on instream environments and the near shore environment.

Program 10 (Theme 5) C2O Consulting Devlin & Lewis (2011) Advancing our understanding of the source, transport and impacts of pesticides on the Great Barrier Reef and in associated ecosystems: A review of MTSRF research outputs, 2006-2010
This report provides an overview of the key findings of research conducted under the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) relevant to pesticide sources, transport and impacts in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The MTSRF research theme Halting and Reversing the Decline in Water Quality (Program 7) was comprised of five major projects undertaken collaboratively by researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), James Cook University (JCU), the Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research (at JCU), the CSIRO and Griffith University.

Program 10 (Theme 5) C2O Consulting Waterhouse & Devlin (2011) Managing water quality in the Great Barrier Reef: An overview of MTSRF research outputs, 2006-2010
This report provides an overview of the key findings of research conducted under the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) relevant to management of water quality in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The MTSRF research theme Halting and Reversing the Decline in Water Quality (Program 7) was comprised of five major projects undertaken collaboratively by researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), James Cook University (JCU), the Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research (at JCU), the CSIRO and Griffith University.

Program 10 (Theme 5) C2O Consulting Waterhouse, J. (2010) Optimising Water Quality and Impact Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Programs
This report provides an overview of the key findings of research conducted through the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) relevant to water quality monitoring and evaluation in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). It outlines the key constraints to water quality monitoring and evaluation in the GBR, advances in target setting methods and applications, and describes progress of monitoring and evaluation techniques to support the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan and Reef Rescue performance assessment in terms of indicator development and implementation. Information is also drawn from the Catchment to Reef Joint Research Program, funded as part of the CRC Reef Research Centre and the Rainforest CRC as precursors to the MTSRF, from 2002 to 2005, which aimed to develop appropriate monitoring methods for water quality and ecosystem health in aquatic ecosystems in the Wet Tropics and GBR World Heritage Area. Its goal was to provide a sound scientific basis for the development of monitoring tools, protocols and guidelines appropriate to the Wet Tropics. Many of the results presented in this report originated from this research, and have been further developed over the last four years through the MTSRF in conjunction with the Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program for water quality and ecosystem health monitoring in the GBR. While the research findings are also applicable elsewhere, particularly in tropical reef ecosystems, many of the more general outcomes have broader applications in environmental monitoring and evaluation programs.

Program 10 (Theme 5) C2O Consulting Waterhouse, J. (2010) Thresholds of major pollutants with regard to impacts on instream and marine ecosystems
Managers of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) require information on the status of reef ecosystems, relationships between pressures and response, and an understanding of the thresholds of GBR species and ecosystems to these pressures. This information can be used to establish guidelines and targets for management that trigger a strategic management response. Knowledge of catchment and instream ecosystems is also necessary for regionally based natural resource managers, and to refine the understanding of relationships between catchment and marine ecosystems. In response to these needs, a key focus area of the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) has been the development of thresholds of pollutants of concern in freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems. The outcomes of this research are summarised below, starting with an overview of new knowledge of the impacts of degraded water quality, and outlining how this work has been translated into threshold values and, ultimately in some cases, management guidelines for the GBR.

Program 10 (Theme 5) C2O Consulting Waterhouse, J. et al. (2011) Identification of priority pollutants and priority areas in the Great Barrier Reef catchments
This report provides a synthesis of MTSRF-funded research relevant to defining priority pollutants for management of water quality in the GBR, and identifying areas for management intervention. The report contains an overview of the identification of priority pollutants, methods for calculating pollutant loads and current pollutant load estimates. Regional results of an assessment of the relative contribution of different sub-catchments and land uses to overall regional pollutant loads are presented. A relative risk assessment of regions and land uses from a water quality perspective is summarised, and the outcomes of a recent study on the exposure of plume waters in the GBR are included. Management implications, data limitations and future research directions are also described.

Program 10 (Theme 5) Johnson, J. and Martin, K. (2011) Managing for resilience of the Great Barrier Reef: Socioeconomic influences
This report provides a synthesis of the key findings of research conducted under the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) relevant to understanding the social and economic influences on managing for resilience of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The report summarises the findings of related projects supported by the MTSRF. Some of the information in this report is extracted from MTSRF project reports with the permission of the authors.

Program 10 (Theme 5) Johnson, J. and Martin, K. (2011) Water quality and climate change: Managing for resilience
This report provides a synthesis of the key findings of research conducted under the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) relevant to understanding interactions between water quality and climate change, and how best to manage for resilience. The report summarises the findings of projects supported by the MTSRF. Some of the information in this report is extracted from these project reports with the permission of the authors.

Program 10 (Theme 5) RRRC Long, S. (2010) Traditional Knowledge is Facilitating Climate Change Adaptation in Torres Strait
Researchers funded through the MTSRF have worked closely with Torres Strait communities to improve our understanding of both the vulnerability of Torres Strait islands to climate change, and their adaptation capacity. Traditional knowledge is a valuable asset in observing and managing environmental change, and Torres Strait Islanders are no exception: they have used traditional knowledge to adapt to biophysical changes in their environment for centuries (McNamara et al. 2010c). The research results show that traditional ecological knowledge and practices are already helping to facilitate climate change adaptation in the Torres Strait. Incorporation of traditional ecological knowledge and practices into future adaptation plans for the region is likely to increase the chances of adoption and success in terms of building community resilience to environmental change. This story from the Torres Strait contains lessons that are likely to be transferable to traditional island communities facing environmental challenges in many other parts of the world.

Project 1.2.1(c) Pert, P. et al. (2010) A Prototype Report Card for the Status and Trends of Biodiversity, Soils and Landscapes in the Wet Tropics
This report card presents the results and recommendations of the Wet Tropics based project ‘Status and trends of biodiversity and ecosystem services: State of the Environment reporting and gap filling’ (MTSRF Project 1.2.1(c)). Presented here is a prototype indicator framework for the biodiversity, soils and landscape assets of the Wet Tropics, and preliminary results for their present condition based on expert opinion and the most recent available data. For each of these natural assets, the current status and trends are assessed, and priorities for natural resource management actions are identified. The report card also highlights information gaps, and makes recommendations for how these gaps should be filled.

Project 1.3.1 JCU Duce, S. et al. (2010) A Synthesis of Climate Change and Coastal Science to Support Adaptation in the Communities of the Torres Strait
This report provides a synthesis of research on climate change and coastal science in the Torres Strait. It identifies and summarises work to date on reef evolution, hydrodynamics and sedimentary environments throughout the Torres Strait. It describes the island dynamics at Boigu, Saibai, Masig, Poruma, Warraber and Iama Islands. Numerous studies relating to climatic change are reviewed and the most relevant regional predictions for climate change in the Torres Strait are presented. The potential physical and ecological impacts of these changes in the Torres Strait are also identified. Adaptation and mitigation measures are suggested and their outcomes and consequences are evaluated. The key principles from sustainable land use plans on the islands are summarised and knowledge gaps in the fields of both coastal and climatic science are identified to guide future research.

Project 4.8.2 AIMS Cappo, M. et al. (2010) The influence of zoning (closure to fishing) on fish communities of the shoals and reef bases of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Complementary analysis of observations from divers and baited video surveys to quantify the influence of region, habitat and zoning, and extenion of results to regional groups. This report comprises a new synthesis of pair-wise comparisons of deep shoals open and closed to line fishing, by incorporating new data on seafloor habitats, complementary data from shallow water fish surveys, and public outreach using novel, video-based extension tools.

Project 4.8.6 JCU Coghlan, A. and Prideaux, B. (2012) Reef Tourism Third Yearly Report. Patterns of reef tourism on the GBR, Tropical North Queensland and the Whitsundays. Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility, Cairns
Visitor surveys provide valuable marketing and management information on trends in tourism to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). This third annual report highlights the results of this year’s surveys collected by partner tour operators at the GBR. A total of 2942 surveys were collected in 2009, bringing the total number of completed surveys to 7569 over the last three years

Project 4.8.6 JCU Coghlan, A. and Prideaux, B. (2012). Reef Tourism Drivers and Trends: Synthesis report. Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility, Cairns
The aim of this report is to present a synthesis of research undertaken at James Cook University on aspects of reef tourism on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Funding for the research was provided by the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) program. The report examines trends and drivers of tourism on GBR and compares results obtained from three related visitor monitoring studies. The discussion begins with an analysis of events that may have affected tourism to the Great Barrier Reef followed by a discussion of data collected from visitors. The report then compares data collected during the three surveys. Finally, the report highlights information gaps in reef tourism research and provides suggestions for future reef tourism research.

Project 4.8.6 JCU Coghlan, A. and Prideaux, B. (2012). Reef Tourism Drivers and Trends: Synthesis report. Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility, Cairns
This report presents a synthesis of research undertaken at James Cook University on aspects of reef tourism on the Great Barrier Reef. The report examines trends and drivers of tourism on the reef and compares results obtained from three related visitor monitoring studies. The discussion begins with an analysis of events that may have affected tourism to the Great Barrier Reef followed by a discussion of data collected from visitors. The report then compares data collected during the three surveys. Finally, the report highlights information gaps in reef tourism research and provides suggestions for future research.

Project 4.9.5 GU Catterall, C. (2010) Rainforest restoration: approaches, costs and biodiversity outcomes
Produced by researchers funded through MTSRF Project 4.9.5, this fact sheet discusses key issues relating to the restoration of rainforest fragments. Rainforests have a complex structure and support a diverse suite of plants and animals, attributes that are lost on conversion to pasture. Rainforest restoration includes activities such as the rehabilitation of degraded remnants, the reforestation of cleared land, and the management of weedy regrowth. All of these activities aim to assist the recovery of rainforest biodiversity. The last few decades have seen considerable investment in rainforest restoration in tropical and subtropical Australia. In recent years, research has helped us understand the value of restoration projects for biodiversity. Issues discussed include approaches that have been used to achieve rainforest restoration, the costs of these approaches, outcomes for biodiversity, and how ‘biodiversity-friendly’ rainforest plantings might be designed and maintained.


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