ProgramsMTSRF

Major end-of-year project and technical reports are available for download in PDF. Reports are listed by MTSRF Project Number.

Biological Indicators of Ecosystem Health in Wet Tropics Streams
Edited by Angela Arthington and Richard Pearson. Final Report for Task 3, Catchment to Reef Joint Research Program. A contribution to the MTSRF Water Quality Project 3.7.3 ‘Freshwater indicators and thresholds of concern’.

Project 1.1.1 CSIRO/AIMS Pitcher, R. et al. (2007) Indicators of protection levels for seabed habitats, species and assemblages on the continental shelf of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area
Report by CSIRO and the Australian Institute of Marine Science which outlines the objectives of Project 1.1.1 for Year 1: to develop indicators of protection levels for seabed species, assemblages and habitats for the GBR Zoning Plan in effect both before and after 1 July 2004, and identify the change in protection levels coinciding with the Representative Areas Program re-zoning.

Project 1.1.2 AIMS Doherty, P. (2007) Reef Check Australia Dive Operators’ Workshop – Feedback
Reef Check Australia trains volunteers to coordinate community monitoring and reporting of the status and trends of 25 key reef tourism sites. Through regular visitation, Reef Check is able to resolve seasonal patterns and more closely observe phenomena such as outbreaks of pests and disease. Outputs from this community monitoring feeds into MTSRF Project 1.1.2. This document provides a report on several workshops convened by Reef Check in January and February of 2007 to gain dive operators’ feedback on Reef Check activities and to review the current monitoring sites in light of operator knowledge.

Project 1.1.2 RCA Schlappy, M-L (2009) Reef Check Australia 2009 Survey Season Report
Final project report for Year 3 (2008/2009). Includes the results of surveys of 42 transects over 26 dive sites on fifteen reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Coral cover of the reefs surveyed has been either consistently increasing (40%) or fluctuating (44%) since the first surveys were carried out by Reef Check Australia. Results are listed by dive site, where (a) coral cover has increased; (b) coral cover has decreased; (c) coral cover has fluctuated; and (d) coral cover remains largely stable.

Project 1.1.3 AIMS QDPI&F De’ath, G. et al. (2008) Spatial distributions and temporal change in distributions of deep water seagrasses in the Great Barrier Reef region
Joint report by AIMS and QDPI&F researchers for Project 1.1.3.

Project 1.1.3 JCU Grech, A. et al. (2008) Spatial risk assessment for coastal seagrass habitats in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area: A case study of the Dry and Wet Tropics
Report prepared in December 2008 outlining the results of a spatial risk assessment for coastal seagrass habitats of the Great Barrier Reef from various anthropogenic factors. This study includes habitats in both the dry and wet tropical areas of the World Heritage Area.

Project 1.1.3 QDPI&F Coles, R. et al. (2007) Status and Trends of Seagrass Habitats in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area
Report by Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries that provides a summary of the state of knowledge of Queensland seagrasses and which outlines the gaps in knowledge that still remain and issues confronting management agencies responsible for protection and development of coastal waters.

Project 1.1.3 QDPI&F Rasheed, M. et al. (2008) Coastal seagrass habitats at risk from human activity in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area: Review of areas to be targeted for monitoring
This report by researchers from the Northern Fisheries Centre in Cairns details the results of a workshop involving regional seagrass experts and end users of seagrass monitoring information. The report identifies key coastal seagrass risk areas in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and examines how well the current research program addresses information requirements in these areas. Also included are recommendations for developing the seagrass status and trends program in the future.

Project 1.1.4 UQ Quaintance, J. (2007) Coral community struture in life and death assemblages from the Swain Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Honours Thesis by Jill K. Quaintance, The Centre for Marine Studies, The University of Queensland. The project received support from MTSRF Project 1.1.4.

Project 1.1.5 AIMS De’ath, G. (2007) The spatial, temporal and structural composition of water quality of the Great Barrier Reef, and indicators of water quality and mapping risk
Report prepared by the Australian Institute of Marine Science which presents an analysis of three major data sets from broadscale water quality sampling programs on the Great Barrier Reef. The report also explores the use of these data sets as potential indicators of water quality.

Project 1.1.5 and 2.5i.1 AIMS Fabricius, K. (2009) e-Atlas: Risk, Resilience and Response – June Milestone Report
Project progress report against Project 1.1.5 and Project 2.5i.1 objectives – June 2009.

Project 1.3.1 CSIRO Haywood et al. (2007) Improved knowledge of Torres Strait seabed biota and reef habitats
Project 1.3.1 extends the work conducted by the CRC Torres Strait (‘Mapping and physical characterisation of key biotic and physical attributes of the Torres Strait ecosystem’). This report provides an analysis of datasets collected during CRC research and a current state of knowledge of the Torres Strait habitat.

Project 1.3.1 JCU McNamara, K. et al. (2010) Constructing the Torres Strait: Report on Policy, Media and Public Opinion
The Torres Strait region holds special significance in the protection of Indigenous Australian culture and land rights, but is also gaining visibility as a site of climate change impacts and adaptation. While the 1992 Australian High Court decision to grant Native Title to traditional owners on Mer Island is probably best known internationally and nationally, the Torres Strait has more recently gained media and policy visibility in relation to unusually large tides and other inundations linked to climate change. This report examines how the Torres Strait region is constructed and represented, largely in relation to climate change, in a variety of forums: policy and discussions, popular media and public opinion. While not denying the impacts of climate change in the region, this report aims to interrogate how the Torres Strait is constructed in certain ways, such as being ‘particularly’ vulnerable to climate processes. This report identifies how the above three realms offer differing representations of the region. Both media and policy representations for instance implicate severe climate change in the identity of the region and as such construct Islanders as ‘particularly’ vulnerable subjects with low adaptive capacity. On the other hand, the results from the public opinion survey present alternative constructions of the region, based around culture, people and community.

Project 1.3.1 JCU McNamara, K. et al. (2010) Documenting and Sharing the Seasonal Calendar for Erub Island, Torres Strait
Reading landscapes, seasons and environments has long been a tradition for Torres Strait Islanders through their close relationships with their islands and seas. MTSRF funded researchers worked with community Elders on Erub Island in the eastern group of islands in the Torres Strait to document the Elders’ knowledge of seasonal patterns, including winds, wet and dry seasons, and also patterns in plant, animal and bird life. This report examines and synthesises this knowledge. The information varies from details on the migration and nesting patterns of key totem birds, to the movement of the Tagai star constellation, to the onset of wind patterns indicating certain planting or fishing cycles. The importance of documenting and transferring such knowledge is that it begins the task of generating interest among the younger generation to identify seasonal and environmental indicators in their landscape. This ability of Islanders to identify indicators and ‘read’ their land and sea country becomes important in maintaining culture, livelihoods and their surrounding environment. To this end, the seasonal calendar, which was assembled from the knowledge of four Erub Island Elders, was also developed into a large wooden mural at the local primary school. The school’s students were involved in the creation and installation of the mural, and its contents will now form part of their teaching curriculum. It is hoped that by documenting, safeguarding and transferring this knowledge, it will remain alive and valuable.

Project 1.3.1 JCU McNamara, K. et al. (2010) Elders’ and Aunties’ Experiences of Climate on Erub Island, Torres Strait
There has been growing concern over the exposure of Torres Strait Islander communities to the impacts of climate change. Across the Torres Strait region, impacts have included inundation events, high tides, less predictable winds and ocean currents, an increase in disease vectors, the loss of cultural sites, and a reduction in freshwater supplies. Some of these direct and indirect impacts of climate change have been recorded in the scientific literature, but to date there is a paucity of documentation as to how the communities themselves have experienced these changes and impacts. These ‘experiences’ (of changes and/or impacts) might stem from Islanders’ memories, or from the present. This report documents and records Erub Island Elders’ and Aunties’ experiences of a changing climate, such as their memories of extreme weather events and historical environmental changes, to present day changes to their land and sea country.

Project 1.3.1 JCU McNamara, K. et al. (2010) Resilience in Knowledge: Unpacking Adaptation Strategies on Erub Island, Torres Strait
Torres Strait Islanders have long been managing their land and sea country. In this vein, they have also been adapting to changes in their local environments since time immoral. This report examines and synthesises knowledge from Elders and Aunties on Erub Island, as well as the voice and views of young Islanders, who shared past and present adaptation strategies for coping with environmental changes. It contains traditional knowledge, including actions and activities that have been employed to adapt to seasonal and climatic changes. This information can shed light on Erub Islanders’ ways of adapting to changes in the future.

Project 1.3.2 AIMS Duckworth, A. (2007) Ecological Role and Potential Value of Sponges to Torres Strait – Annual Report 2007
MTSRF Project 1.3.2 Annual Report for 2006/2007 prepared by researchers of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Sponges are a dominant organism on coral reefs throughout Torres Strait and have been shown to play an important ecological role by acting as a nursery or recruitment habitat for other species of economic importance. In addition to their ecological importance, sponges that have good quality spongin fibres have commercial value and may be sold as bath sponges. This report examines the size of the Coscinoderma sp. population in Torres Strait; determines the possible risks of translocating individuals of Coscinoderma sp. within Torres Strait in the interests of setting up bath sponge farms where it is not naturally abundance; and highlights when, where and how often sponges such as Coscinoderma recruit onto coral reefs in Torres Strait.

Project 1.3.2 AIMS Duckworth, A. (2008) Ecological Role and Potential Value of Sponges to Torres Strait – Annual Report 2008
Annual Report for Year 2 of MTSRF Project 1.3.2 (2007/2008) prepared by researchers of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Project 1.3.2 AIMS Evans-Illidge, E. et al. (2010) ‘Ecological Role and Potential Value of Sponges to Torres Strait’
Final Report on Project Activities, June 2010. Project 1.3.2 extends on work carried out through the CRC Torres Strait to establish farming protocols and best practice guidelines for growing the commercial bath sponge Coscinoderma matthewsi at Masig Island in Torres Strait. During the course of the MTSRF-funded research, researchers (a) studied the ecology and demography of sponges in Torres Strait, especially C. matthewsi, as a possible surrogate for ecosystem connectivity and health of benthic communities in Torres Strait; and (b) established a firmer knowledge base to underpin the sustainable environmental management of Torres Strait sponge framing. This document reports on outputs to date, including (a) the known distribution and abundance of sponges in Torres Strait at a range of spatial scales; (b) a demonstrated low incidence of disease in wild sponge populations; and (c) temporal trends in sponge demographics plus evidence of the success of existing farming and harvesting procotols.

Project 1.3.2 AIMS Whalan, S. (2009) Ecological role and potential value of sponges to Torres Strait – Annual Report 2009
Annual Report for Year 3 of MTSRF Project 1.3.2 (2008/2009) prepared by researches of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Project 1.3.2 Duckworth, A. (2006) Distribution and abundance of the bath sponge Coscinoderma in Central and Eastern Torres Strait
A project report on the distribution and abundance of the bath sponge Coscinoderma in Central and Eastern Torres Strait.

Project 1.3.3 CSIRO Pascoe, S. (2007) Preliminary review of key resource economics in the Torres Strait
Report by Sean Pascoe, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. This report outlines some of the key resource economic issues that could be developed into research projects or programmes. The focus of this report is on marine resource related issues, and fisheries resources in particular, as these represent the most important industry in the Torres Strait region. Only brief consideration is given to other natural resource issues, namely land and water.

Project 1.3.3 JCU Marsh, H. (2008) Spatial closures as possible management tools for community-based management of dugongs and turtles in Torres Strait
Outcomes of Torres Strait Spatial Closures Workshop held 14-16 October 2008, Thursday Island. Report compiled by Professor Helene Marsh, School of Environmental and Earth Sciences, James Cook University.

Project 1.3.3 JCU Tawake, A. (2008) Livelihood benefits of adaptive co-management of hand collectable fisheries in the Torres Strait
Overview of PhD project which aims to test an adaptive co-management framework approach for trochus and beche-de-mer fisheries in two Torres Strait Island communities.

Project 1.3.3 STF Roe, D. (2010) Marine Turtle and Dugong Awareness Program for Western Province, Papua New Guinea
Outcomes of Development Workshop held 10 June 2010, Daru.

Project 1.3.5 CSIRO Tawake, L. et al. (2010) Towards regional and community-scale reporting of marine ecosystem health in the Torres Strait
Currently there is no formal marine ecosystem health monitoring or reporting system in the Torres Strait. While some commercial fisheries are assessed and monitored in detail, much of this information is transmitted to regional management agencies. However, there is increasing awareness of the need to involve Torres Strait Islander communities in the dissemination and collection of ecosystem management and research information, and to establish an integrated system of marine ecosystem health reporting whcih is of relevance to agencies and communities. This report presents the findings of MTSRF Project 1.3.5 ‘Reporting Ecosystem Health in the Torres Strait’, which was established in 2006 to (a) identify potential marine ecosystem health indicators for Torres Strait that are relevant to regional and community-level stakeholders, and to calculate available data for those indicators; and (b) to develop potential monitoring and reporting frameworks and media for marine ecosystem health.

Project 1.4.1 Marsh, H. et al. (2007) Northern Great Barrier Reef & Torres Strait Final Report
This report provides the first synopsis of the distribution and abundance of the dugong on the remote coast of Queensland from Cooktown north including Torres Strait.

Project 1.4.1(e) UQ Parra, G. et al. (2009) Feeding habits of Australian Snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis)
Little information exists on the feeding habits of Australian Snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis). In this study, University of Queensland researchers provide quantitative analyses of the diet of both dolphin species in Queensland waters, based on the examination of stomachs collected from stranded and bycaught animals between 1970 and 2008. Snubfin and humpback dolphins appear to be opportunistic-generalist feeders, eating a wide variety of fish and cephalopods associated with coastal-estuarine waters.

Project 1.4.2 JCU Grech, A. et al. (2008) Torres Strait Community GIS – Project Report
A report outlining activities conducted in Torres Strait to build the capacity of Torres Strait Islander communities in Natural Resource Management through the integration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Scientific Knowledge.

Project 1.4.2 JCU Soto, A. (2007) Effects of Acoustic Alarms on Coastal Dolphins – Powerpoint Slides
Copy of Microsoft PowerPoint presentation slides developed by Alvaro Berg, PhD Candidate, James Cook University for use in presentations to key stakeholders of Project 1.4.2 Objective A – To evaluate the effects of acoustic alarms on the behaviour of wildlife bycatch.

Project 1.4.3 CSIRO Metcalfe, D. et al. (2010) Floristic impacts of re-alignment of beach ridge track, Cowley Beach
A long-standing 4WD track along the back of the foredunes and sand spit between Cowley Beach and the mouth of Liverpool Creek (south of Innisfail, North Queensland) was extensively damaged by Tropical Cyclone Larry in March 2006. Storm surges removed several metres of beach sand and many established trees, while high winds felled many trees across the track. Quad bike riders and 4WD drivers have subsequently made their own tracks, following the original track at the southern end, but running along the ridge crest for much of its length, damaging sand-stabilising vegetation and potentially disturbing turtle nest sites. The Cassowary Coast Regional Council is assessing the feasibility of re-routing the track to the landward side of the foredune where the sand is better stabilised and potential ecological damage is minimised. This report provides details of a site assessment carried out by CSIRO ecologists to assess community structure and condition in relation to the mapped vegetation communities under the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management’s Regional Ecosystem Framework (RE), search for significant plant species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) (NCA), and for bioregionally important occurrences of other plant species, assess weed abundance and distribution, and assess the ecological values of the site and the damage being caused by on-going motor vehicle access.

Project 2.5i.3 JCU Hughes, T. (2007) Herbivory by fishes on the Great Barrier Reef: A review of knowledge and understanding
Preliminary status and trends report completed in June 2007 by C. Cvitanovic, R. J. Fox and D. R. Bellwood, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University.

Project 2.5i.4 AIMS Wooldridge, S. (2007) Linking land-use change scenarios with predicted water quality improvements within the GBR lagoon
A project progress report outlining modelling methodology that enables end-of-river values of DIN to be spatially extrapolated across the inner-shelf region of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. Importantly this allows the end-of-river outcomes of modelled land-use improvement scenarios to be tested for their relevance in terms of improving inshore reef water quality.

Project 2.5i.4 AIMS Wooldridge, S. (2007) Metadata Inshore GBR Datasets
A project progress report outlining the metadata of the inshore Great Barrier Reef datasets.

Project 2.5i.4 AIMS Wooldridge, S. (2008) Modelling the improved resilience of inshore coral reefs to climate change due to terrestrial water quality improvements
A case study from the Tully-Murray River catchment, North Queensland. This report outlines research to model the ‘envelope’ of future bleaching risks to inshore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef that are under the influence of the Tully-Murray flood plume, based on a range of optimised land management actions.

Project 2.5i.4 AIMS Wooldridge, S. (2008) Regional Scale Coral Bleaching Predictions for the Great Barrier Reef
A project milestone report describing the downscaling methodology developed to enable GCM-scale scenarios of future SST to be interpreted as a regional-scale coral bleaching threat on the Great Barrier Reef Australia.

Project 2.5i.4 AIMS Wooldridge, S. (2009) Managing local water quality to help combat climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
A project update detailing work to simulate the beneficial impact of end-of-catchment dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) reductions (10%, 30%, 50% and 70%) in raising the bleaching resistance of inshore coral reefs between Townsville and Cooktown, North Queensland.

Project 2.5i.4 AIMS Wooldridge, S. (2009) Modelling the improved resilience of inshore coral reefs to climate change due to terrestrial water quality improvement: A case study from the Burdekin River catchment
Submitted as a component of Project 2.5i.4 January 2009 milestone report.

Project 2.5i.4 CQU Miles, R. et al. (2009) Assessing the Socio-Economic Implications of Climate Change (Coral Bleaching) in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment: Synthesis Report
Submitted as a component of Project 2.5i.4 January 2009 milestone report.

Project 2.5ii.1 CSIRO Ramasamy, S. (2007) Climate Change Projections for the Tropical Rainforest Region of North Queensland
Report prepared by the Climate Impacts and Risk Group, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Science. This report outlines temperature and rainfall projections for the tropical rainforest region of far northern Queensland based on simulations performed for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report invovling twenty-three global climate models (GCMs).

Project 2.5ii.1 CSIRO Thatcher, M. et al (2007) Regional climate downscaling for the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) between 1971 and 2000
Report by CSIRO researchers which describes the results of downscaling of regional climate statistics for the MTSRF, using CSIRO’s Conformal Cubic Atmospheric Model and Mk3 model.

Project 2.5ii.2 JCU Liddell, M. (2010) ‘Climate Change: Scaling from trees to ecosystems’
Final Report on Project Activities, June 2010. Project 2.5ii.2 set out to provide a detailed process-based understanding of the performance of lowland tropical rainforest in concert with climatic measurements, with a view to coupling this understanding with future climate scenarios provided by MTSRF Project 2.5ii.1 to predict possible influences of climate change on the Daintree lowland rainforest of far northern Queensland over the next century. This report includes summaries of outputs of each of the five key objectives of this project: (a) Atmospheric fluxes; (b) Plant physiology; (c) Fluxes of carbon and water; (d) flowering/fruiting phenology; and (e) Insect populations and biodiversity.

Project 2.5ii.3 CSIRO Hilbert, D. (2010) Threats to ecosystems in the Wet Tropics due to climate change and implications for management
Summary: This report summarises recent research that suggests several likely changes and threats to biodiversity and ecosystem processes in the Wet Tropics Bioregion, and briefly discusses the implication of these changes for management.

Project 2.6.1 JCU Blair, D. (2007) The influence of nutrients and temperature on the global distribution of algal blooms
Literature Review by James Cook University researchers, June 2007. Algal blooms are defined as increased abundance, biomass, or population growth. This review reveals knowledge gaps regarding bloom initiation and nutrient preferences, and is divided into four sections. Section A investigates nutrient effects and challenges the paradigm of macroalgal growth limitation by nitrogen in temperature, but phosphate in tropical regions. Sections B and C investigate global distributions of algal blooms. Section D focuses on a new microalga for the Great Barrier Reef.

Project 2.6.1 JCU Blair, D. et al. (2009) March Interim Report – Part 2 – Review of genetic probe development for invasive marine species, with a focus on choice of target gene and on DNA amplification technology
Part 2 of a joint progress report by James Cook University – March 2009.

Project 2.6.1 JCU Heimann, K. et al. (2009) June Interim Report – Part 1 – The continuing development of the toxic dinoflagellates atlas
Part 1 of a joint progress report by James Cook University – June 2009.

Project 2.6.1 JCU Heimann, K. et al. (2009) March Interim Report – Part 1 – Laboratory culture of marine microalgae of the Great Barrier Reef toxic dinoflagellate cultures established by the North Queensland Algal Identification/Culturing Facility (NQAIF)
Part 1 of a joint progress report by James Cook University – March 2009.

Project 2.6.1 JCU Momigliano, P. et al. (2009) June Interim Report – Part 2 – Development of genetic probes for the identification of marine microalgae
Part 2 of a joint progress report by James Cook University.

Project 2.6.2 CSIRO Lawson, T. et al. (2010) Audit and prioritisation of physical barriers to fish passage in the Wet Tropics region
Abstract: Barriers to fish passage, such as flood mitigation, drainage structures, and extensive road, rail and canerail networks, can have a significant impact on native fish assemblages. We identified artificial physical barriers in the Wet Tropics bioregion, Far North Queensland, Australia, through a desktop GIS analysis of the stream/river and transport networks. A total of 5,536 potential artificial, physical barriers to fish passage were identified in a stream network of 19,764 km at a scale of 1: 100 000. The Mulgrave (1,076) and Johnstone (1,069) basins contained the highest number of potential barriers, whilst most potential barriers comprised road crossings (66%) and cane rail crossings (18%). Due to the unavailability of consistent datasets at smaller scales, we have not identified artificial physical barriers smaller than 50 m. Hence it is very likely that the total number of potential barriers to fish passage in the region is many times higher. We subsequently prioritised the 5,536 potential barriers, to identify those barriers that will provide the greatest habitat value for native fish species when removed and/or mitigated. A total of 104 potential barriers were identified as high priority for rehabilitation, with the Daintree (32), Mossman (19) and Mulgrave (17) basins having the highest numbers. We recommend that the high priority status and attributes of these 104 barriers be verified on-ground, and that rehabilitation of barriers be experimentally examined as a management strategy to improve native fish movement and reduce invasive fish abundance in the Wet Tropics region.

Project 2.6.2 CSIRO Poon et al. (2007) Assessing the research needs for the management of invasive species in the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of the Wet Tropics
This report by CSIRO and James Cook University researchers is a synthesis of past and current research and management of invasive species in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems of the Wet Tropics bioregion, North Queensland. Its intention is to identify knowledge gaps and critical research needs and thus recommend future opportunities for investment in research and management of invasive species in the Wet Tropics.

Project 3.7.1 AIMS Cooper, T. (2007) Coral-based Indicators of Changes in Water Quality on Nearshore Coral Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef
Report by T. Cooper and K. Fabricius, Australian Institute of Marine Science for Project 3.7.1 Marine and estuarine indicators and thresholds of concern.

Project 3.7.1 AIMS Fabricius, K. (2007) Conceptual Model of the effects of runoff on the ecology of corals and coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef
Report by K. Fabricius, Australian Institute of Marine Science. Coastal coral reefs are exposed to increasing loads of nutrients, sediments and other pollutants discharged from the land. Terrestrial runoff resulting in poor coastal water quality is therefore a growing concern. The objective of this study was to build a conceptual model to address the specific question, ‘How are changes in river loads linked to changes in lagoonal water quality and biogeochemical processes, and do these changes alter the condition and ecological properties of coral reefs?’.

Project 3.7.1 AIMS Humphrey, C. (2007) The Use of Biomarkers in Barramundi (Lates calcarifer) to Monitor Contaminants in Estuaries of Tropical North Queensland
Unpublished report by C. Humphrey, S. C. King and D. Klumpp, Australian Institute of Marine Science, February 2007.

Project 3.7.1 DPI McKenzie, L. (2007) Relationships between seagrass communities and sediment properties along the Queensland coast
This report by Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries summarises baseline data and research results aimed at developing indicators for seagrass condition in response to contrasting sediment properties.

Project 3.7.1 JCU Sheaves, M. (2007) Assessment of Techniques for Determining the Health of Tropical Estuarine Ecosystems
Report by James Cook University and Griffith University researchers on the assessment of techniques that can be employed to determine the ecosystem health of estuaries and coastal wetlands in Australia’s tropical regions.

Project 3.7.1 QPIF Hedge, S. et al. (2009) Temporal and spatial morphological variability of the seagrasses ‘Halophila ovalis’ and ‘Halodule uninervis’ throughout the Great Barrier Reef region: Preliminary analysis
This report explores seagrass meadow dynamics in relation to proximity of catchments, nutrient quantity and quality in order to enhance the current understanding of anthropogenic impacts on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Project 3.7.2 AIMS Wolanski, E. (2007) Wet season fine sediment dynamics on the inner shelf of the Great Barrier Reef
Article submitted to Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science, 2007. Approval to upload to website provided by Dr K. E. Fabricius, Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Project 3.7.3 and 3.7.4 CSIRO Wallace, J. (2007) Hydro-ecological modeling in coastal catchments: Connectivity and hydro-ecological function
Report from the MTSRF Projects 3.7.3 and 3.7.4 Workshop held at CSIRO Davies Laboratory, Townsville, 19-20 April 2007, which summarises the presentations, discussion and recommendations made. The key objective of the workshop was to initiate the development of an integrated package of conceptual and quantitative models, supported by field-based research, to predict the key hydro-ecological functions in Wet Tropics rivers, wetlands and floodplains.

Project 3.7.4 CSIRO Hawdon, A. et al. (2007) Design and application of automated flood water quality monitoring systems in the Wet Tropics
CSIRO Land and Water commenced a floodwater monitoring program for the Tully-Murray Rivers in North Queensland in March 2006. Given the difficulty of accessing key sampling areas during extreme events, such as the floods following Tropical Cyclone Larry, the research team developed flood water sampling systems that could automatically collect water samples during the early parts of a flood, with manual samples then collected several days post-flood when access is again attainable. This report details the components, construction and application of fully automatic and refrigerated samplers and a hybrid system designed to measure sediment and nutrient concentrations in over-bank flood waters.

Project 3.7.5 CSIRO Roebeling, P. et al. (2007) Financial-economic analysis of current best management practices for sugarcane, horticulture, grazing and forestry industries in the Tully-Murray catchment
Report by CSIRO researchers initially prepared for the Cardwell Shire Floodplain Program under Tasks 3.3b,c,d and 2.15 of the Water Quality Improvement Program for the Tully-Murray catchment. This study analyses the cost-effectiveness of most promising best-management-practices for water quality improvement in sugarcane, horticulture, grazing and forestry production in the Tully-Murray catchment.

Project 3.7.5 CSIRO van Grieken, M. (2009) Review of socio-economic constraints to and incentives for the adoption of land use and management options for water quality improvement in the Tully-Murray catchment (Wet Tropics)
This report provides an economic assessment of instruments promoting adoption of land management practices by landholders for the Wet Tropics. Specifically, the objectives of this study are to (a) determine the private-economic consequences of management practice adoption, (b) determine the effectiveness of management practice adoption in reducing nutrient supply, and (c) assess the effectiveness of taxes and subsidies to promote the adoption of management practices.

Project 3.7.5 CSIRO Van Grieken, M. et al. (2010) ‘Agricultural management practices for water quality improvement in the Great Barrier Reef catchments’
This report provides a detailed description of management practices intended to reduce the adverse impacts of agriculture on water quality improvement in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchments. It addresses the Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions of the Wet Tropics, Burdekin Dry Tropics and Mackay-Whitsundays. In this report the agricultural production systems in the GBR catchment are identified which (1) have the highest financial impact; and (2) have the highest adverse impacts on water quality from nutrients, sediments and pollutants. Furthermore, the management actions for each identified production system are prioritised according to water quality improvement potential.

Project 3.7.6 terrain NRM Vella, K. (2007) Social and Economic Research Integration: Co-Research Agenda
Report on the outputs of the MTSRF Project 3.7.6 Social Research Integration Workshop convened 1-2 March 2007 in Cairns (MTSRF Year 1 project objectives).

Project 3.7.7 CSIRO Browne, M. et al (2007) Review of existing approaches used to develop integrated report card frameworks (IRCF) and their relevance to catchments draining to the Great Barrier Reef
Report by Matthew Browne et al., CSIRO. A key deliverable of the MTSRF program is the development of an integrated report card framework for reporting on condition and trends in catchment and marine health of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait regions. This report provides a review of relevant report card approaches; raises awareness as to some of the issues and requirements for developing a report card for the Great Barrier Reef region; provides some principles and an approach on how to proceed with developing a report card for the GBR region; and outlines CSIRO’s research plan for the completion of the first year (2006/2007) contract for Project 3.7.7.

Project 3.7.7 CSIRO Kuhnert, P. et al (2007) Conceptual and statistical framework for a water quality component of an integrated report card for the Great Barrier Reef catchments
A report by CSIRO researchers that presents the final deliverable from MTSRF Project 3.7.7.

Project 3.7.7 CSIRO Kuhnert, P. et al. (2010) ‘Analysis and synthesis of information for reporting credible estimates of loads for compliance against targets and tracking trends in loads’
Final Report on Project Activities, June 2010. Quantifying the amount of sediment and nutrients (via a load) entering the Great Barrier Reef is a primary focus for water quality improvement plans that aim to halt or reverse the decline in reef health. Although substantial work has been undertaken in the literature to define a load under varying conditions and assumptions, the methods currently available do not adequately address all aspects of uncertainty surrounding the load estimate. This reduces the ability to usefully inform future monitoring activities and to report on the status of, or trends, in loads. This report looks at a Loads Regression Estimator as a methodology for accurately estimating sediment and nutrient loads.

Project 3.7.7 Kuhnert, P. et al. (2009) Statistical methods for the estimation of pollutant loads from monitoring data: Final project report
Quantifying the amount of sediment, nutrients and pesticides entering the Great Barrier Reef is a primary focus for water quality improvement plans that aim to halt or reverse the decline in reef health over the next five years. Although substantial work has been undertaken to define a load under varying conditions and assumptions, the methods available do not adequately address all aspects of uncertainty surrounding the load estimate, reducing the ability to usefully inform future monitoring activities and to report on the status of, or trends in, loads. The approach presented in this report is an extension to the regression or rating curve methdology, which incorporates three primary aspects of uncertainty specific to the calcultation of riverine loads: measurement error, stochastic uncertainty and knowledge uncertainty.

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: Results of repeated surveys of the southern banks and Cardwell shoals, and an overview with regional comparisons
This report presents the results of repeated surveys of pairs of discrete ‘shoals’ off Cardwell in the north and on either end of the Capricorn shelf in the south of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We also provide coarse regional comparisons of these results with ‘snapshots’ of mean and median abundances from shoal pairs in five other regions obtained during the four years of this project.

Project 4.8.2 AIMS Johansson, C. et al. (2008) The use of stereo BRUVS for measuring fish size
Report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, June 2008. Stereo Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (SBRUVS) were deployed as part of a larger study of the fish communities of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in response to zoning changes by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in 2004. This report assesses the use of SBRUVS as a tool for precise measurements of fish length to supplemennt comparisons based simply on visual observations of diversity and/or abundance.

Project 4.8.2 AIMS Speare, P. (2007) Preliminary findings from the first baseline survey of the Magnetic Shoals
Project progress report by P. Speare and M. Stowar, Australian Institute of Marine Science, on results of a baseline survey of ‘green’ zoned sites on Magnetic Shoal, together with non-green sites in the adjacent ‘blue’ zoned areas of the marine park initialised in July 2006. Ongoing monitoring was maintained in order to assess any seasonal effects on the fish and benthic communities. Output from Project 4.8.2 Influence of the Great Barrier Reef Zoning Plan on inshore habitats and biodiversity, of which fish and corals are indicators: Reefs and shoals.

Project 4.8.2 AIMS Speare, P. et al. (2008) Temporal monitoring of northern shoals off Cardwell and Townsville
This report presents the results of three to five return visits (between July 2006 and May 2008) to shoal grounds in the Cardwell and Townsville (North Queensland) regions of the Great Barrier Reef, comparing areas closed to fishing in 2004 with control areas that remain open to fishing. Fish abundance and species composition was established with baited video stations. Habitats were assessed by towed video camera and classified into broad categories of substratum and life form.

Project 4.8.2 AIMS Stowar, M. et al. (2008) Influence of zoning on midshelf shoals of the southern Great Barrier Reef
This report presents the results of seasonal surveys (Autumn/Spring 2007) on two pairs of discrete deepwater shoals in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Within each pair, one shoal was re-zoned ‘Green’ (closed to all fishing) in 2004 while the other ‘Blue’ (open to fishing) remained open to fishing. Each shoal or bank is a large submerged structure of several square kilometres rising from about fifty metres depth to within twenty to thirty metres of the surface. Demersal vertebrate communities were sampled using non-extractive baited remote underwater video stations, which revealed a diverse (~250 species) and abundant fauna of fish, sharks, rays and seasnakes including those targeted and not targeted by recreational and commercial line fishers.

Project 4.8.3 JCU Currey, L. et al. (2008) Comparative biology of key inter-reefal lethrinid species on the Great Barrier Reef
This project progress report describes the biology of four lethrinid species that occur on the Great Barrier Reef: Lethrinus nebulosus (spangled emperor), L. atkinsoni (yellow-tailed emperor), L. olivaceus (long-nosed emperor) and L. lentjan (pink-eared emperor). Biological characteristics investigated included size, age, growth, mortality and reproduction. The biological characteristics were compared between species and the implications of differences consideredd in relation to the resilience of populations to fishing.

Project 4.8.3 JCU Currey, L. et al. (2010) Comparative biology of key inter-reefal labrid species on the Great Barrier Reef
This project progress report describes the biology of labrids collected from fishery surveys on the Great Barrier Reef, providing results of length and weight relationships, length frequencies, spawning seasonality, length at sex change and sex ratios where data is available. The resilience of the wrasses to fishing in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area will be assessed from this data and the existing literature.

Project 4.8.3 JCU Currey, L. et al. (2010) Resilience of reef fish species on the Great Barrier Reef and in Torres Strait
This project report uses reef fish species life history data, collected by the decade-long Effects of Line Fishing Project to (1) identify reef fish species with biological characteristics that make them most vulnerable to over-exploitation and other disturbances, and (2) evaluate the effectiveness of size-based regulations and gear characteristics in achieving sustainability of commonly caught species from three of the most important reef fish families of the Australian east coast.

Project 4.8.3 JCU Heupel, M. et al. (2009) The Comparative Biology of Lutjanid Species on the Great Barrier Reef
Project Milestone Report. The Lutjanidae family comprises a wide array of species of varying size and body form, and with 103 species, this family is one of the largest and most diverse families of fish. Project 4.8.3 research was designed to examine and compare the biology of several lutjanid species occurring in mid and outer shelf reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Comparisons between biological parameters were completed where possible to define differences between species, examine their resilience to fishing pressure and determine whether current management measures are appropriate.

Project 4.8.3 JCU Mapleston, A. (2009) Comparative biology of key inter-reefal serranid species on the Great Barrier Reef
This project progress report examines biological samples collected as part of the CRC Reef-funded Effects of Line Fishing Experiment to provide information on the ecological resilience and vulnerability of key inter-reef fish species. Commonly referred to as groupers, the sub-family Epinepheline (Family: Serranidae) is the focus of this study due to concern about the status of a large number of grouper species being caught in tropical and temperate fisheries.

Project 4.8.3 JCU Simpfendorfer, C. (2008) Harvest patterns of the ‘Other Species’ quota group in the Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery Updated June 2008
Report by researchers of the Fishing and Fisheries Team, James Cook University. This report documents the harvest patterns of the ‘other species’ component of the Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery, a multi-sector line fishery that operates in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Updated June 2008.

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 2009 surveys collected by partner tour operators at the GBR.

Project 4.8.6 JCU Prideaux, B. (2007) Reef Tourism: Establishment of Visitor Monitoring Structure
Unpublished report completed in February 2007 by B. Prideaux and A. Coghlan, School of Business, James Cook University.

Project 4.8.6(a) JCU Stoeckl, N. et al. (2010) ‘Understanding the social and economic values of key marine species in the Great Barrier Reef
Final Report on Project Activities, with a section focusing on marine turtles, June 2010. This final report overviews the results of MTSRF funded research aimed at identifying relative social and economic values of key marine species, including large fish around tourist facilities. A section of this report has also been dedicated to the socio-economic values of marine turtles in relation to scuba diving tourism in the Far Northern Section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Project 4.9.1 CSIRO Cullen-Unsworth, L. et al. (2010) Best practice and use of methods for the development of a series of cultural indicators for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area: final project report
This report provides a discussion around best practice and use of methods for the cooperative development of a series of cultural indicators for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA). The indicators were derived through a project to develop a series of linked cultural and biophysical indicators for the WTWHA. In this context ‘linked cultural and biophysical indicators’ means cultural indicators that are linked to the Wet Tropics rainforest. These indicators outline why the WTWHA is so important to Rainforest Aboriginal people and provide some (limited) insight into how Rainforest Aboriginal peoples may have shaped the WTWHA into the rich cultural landscape that it represents today. The cultural indicators derived at this stage are potential indicators of cultural status or change that are linked to the biophysical environment of the WTWHA. The WTWHA is regarded by many Australians as a cultural landscape; however, it is not yet officially recognised as such by any formal designation. The area is currently under consideration for inclusion as a cultural property on the Australian National Heritage List. At this stage, recognition on the National Heritage List is a precursor for re-nomination on the World Heritage List as an ‘area of cultural value’. This revised listing would recognise the WTWHA as a World Heritage Listed Cultural Landscape. If successful, a formal requirement will be to report on the cultural values, in addition to the natural values for which the area is already recognised.

Project 4.9.1 CSIRO Hill, R. (2008) Indigenous Cultural Action Workshop Report
Hill, R., Cullen, L., Hedgcock, N., George, C., Canendo, W., McCaul, J. and Hill, D. (2008) Indigenous Cultural Action for Biological and Cultural Conservation and Human Well-being: Report of the Alliance Workshop held at the Fourth IUCN World Conservation Congress, Barcelona, 5-9 October 2008. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.

Project 4.9.1 JCU McIntyre-Tamwoy, S. et al. (2010) Wet Tropics Traditional Owners Strategic Research Directions Workshop Report
This report documents the outcomes of a Wet Tropics Traditional Owner workshop held in Innisfail, North Queensland on 15-16 September 2009. The objectives of the workshop were to present the outcomes and experiences associated with MTSRF funded Rainforest Aboriginal research during the period 2006-2010, provide a synthesis of work that occurred through the Rainforest CRC relevant to Aboriginal peoples, provide opportunities for participants to discuss emerging research priorities for natural and cultural resource management, enable target setting for potential future research, and make recommendations for future funding programs such as ‘MTSRF 2′.

Project 4.9.2 JCU Prideaux, B. (2007) Rainforest Tourism: Establishment of a visitor monitoring structure
Report by James Cook Universtiy researchers on the sustainable use of rainforest resources by the tourism industry, and methods for monitoring visitors at the site level as well as community perceptions of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Project 4.9.3 CSIRO Bohnet, I. et al. (2010) Sea- and tree-change phenomena in the Wet Tropics: Impacts of urbanisation and mitigation potential
The terms ‘sea-change’ and ‘tree-change’ are popular Australian expressions for what has been termed ‘amenity migration’ in the United States, Canada and Europe. As the terms imply, sea- and tree-change involves a move to the coast or a forested picturesque area. Population movements from capital cities to non-metropolitan high amenity environs have been studied extensively over the past thirty years. Far North Queensland has some of the fastest growing population centres in the State outside the densely packed southeast corner. While population growth rates in coastal areas in terms of total numbers may not seem significant when compared with capital cities, the percentage growth rates experienced by coastal communities are significant when compared with their respective State and National averages. It can be speculated that this growth in population and associated urbanisation of coastal and hinterland areas in Far North Queensland, and in particular, in the Wet Tropics bioregion has much in common with the well documented sea-change phenomenon in other coastal regions of Australia. Similarly, the tree-change phenomenon seems worth investigating in the Wet Tropics bioregion, not only because as the land along the coastal strip becomes scarcer and less affordable, the nearby forested hill slopes may provide alternative locations to the coast, but also because the forested hills may attract changers for different reasons. This document reports on studies of the sea- and tree-change phenomena in Far North Queensland and provides considerations for Local Government and Natural Resource Management (NRM) authorities on managing and remediating impacts of urbanisation.

Project 4.9.3 JCU Turton, S. et al. (2008) An assessment of the environmental impacts of Cyclone Larry on the forest landscapes of northeast Queensland, with reference to responses to natural resource management issues in the aftermath
An assessment of the environmental impacts of Cyclone Larry on the forest landscapes of northeast Queensland, with reference to responses to natural resource management issues in the aftermath: Report submitted to the Bureau of Meteorology (March 2007).

Project 4.9.7 CSIRO Alexandridis, K. (2007) Monte Carlo Extreme Event Simulations for Understanding Water Quality Change Classifications in the Great Barrier Reef Region
Report prepared by K. Alexandridis, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.

Project 4.9.7 CSIRO Stone-Jovicich, S. et al. (2010) Tools for assessing consensus and adoption of management practices (cigarette butt litter disposal)
Report on Phase 1 of project data collection, March 2010. This project update describes the first phase of data collection for this MTSRF Project 4.9.7 extension project, the objective of which is to test a methodology, consensus analysis, developed in cognitive anthropology. In summary, the project aims to determine a range of beliefs held by Townsville cigarette smokers in relation to (a) the contributions smokers’ actions make to reducing cigarette butt litter; (b) the outcomes that will be achieved through smokers’ adopting improved practices; (c) smokers’ ability to implement the desired actions or activities; (d) The full consequences of smokers’ decisions and actions to reduce butt litter; and (e) smokers’ values regarding the reduction of cigarette butt litter and the activities they are expected to adopt to achieve that output.

Project 4.9.7 JCU Gooch, M. (2008) Why community perceptions about social resilience in relation to water quality are important
Project PowerPoint presentation for the 3rd National Education Conference of the Australian Water Association, Gold Coast International Hotel, Surfers Paradise, 30 March – 2 April 2008.

Project 4.9.7 UQ Cuthill, M. (2008) Reporting social outcomes of development: an analysis of diverse approaches
A project update detailing a conceptual framework for regional monitoring and reporting of social resilience and how individuals, communities and societies adapt, transform, and potentially become stronger when faced with environmental, social, economic or political challenges.

Project 4.9.7 UQ Maclean, K. et al (2008) Regional Level Indicators of Social Resilience
A project update on ‘Regional Level Indicators of Social Resilience’ as presented at the September 2008 Steering Committee meeting.


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