An Australian jewel
Enabling partnerships in the GBR region
Very significant amounts of coral died in the northern and central parts of the GBR as a result of two consecutive bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 (due to global warming) which was unprecedented. The Reef as we know it has irrevocably changed, necessitating a shift in how we think about protecting the GBR. It also is a call for urgent action on multiple fronts. The Reef 2050 Plan provides the framework that can guide policy responses, but it needs to be supported by a harnessing of Australia's world-class research capability across multiple organisations, so that we can capitalise on the GBR's resilience and ability to recover.
Preserving the GBR's ecological function by 2050 - not just of its coral reefs, but of all its ecosystems - represents a highly complex challenge that transcends simple solutions and multiple levels of governance. It requires the mobilisation of a broad based partnership between Federal, Queensland and local governments, industry, landholders, community groups, Traditional Owners and research institutions.
Since June 2016, CSIRO has taken a proactive role in facilitating a broad-based coalition of partners and has built on a lot of existing and new research initiatives.
Supporting the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (the Marine Park Authority) is Australia's lead manager of the Great Barrier Reef. For more than 40 years, it has been managing this great natural icon to ensure it is protected for the future. Extensive monitoring supports the Marine Park Authority in tracking the health of the Reef and making more effective management decisions.
Out on the water, the Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service operate a joint field management program for the marine and island national parks, encompassing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park. A priority for the Marine Park Authority is a dedicated crown-of-thorns starfish control program to cull the coral-eating starfish and reduce the severity of outbreaks to protect live coral cover.
At CSIRO, we conduct research supporting all of these domains, often in collaboration with other research organisations such as the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences and James Cook University.
Cross-cutting science that enables decision making
eReefs: coasts, computers and collaboration
eReefs is a platform that provides a picture of what is currently happening on the reef, and what will likely happen in the future. We are collaborating on eReefs with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, AIMS, Bureau of Meteorology and the Queensland Government.
The Social and Economic Long-Term Monitoring Progam (SELTMP) is assisting Reef managers and other decision-makers within the Great Barrier Reef region to incorporate the human dimension into their planning and management. SELTMP gathers long-term data specific to Reef users, communities and industries, enabling new insights into relationships, vulnerabilities and dependencies between people and the natural resources.
Harvesting coral spawn slicks using industrial techniques
Restoring coral reefs is a global challenge that has been attempted around the world, with previous research achieving varying levels of success at small and localised scales. CSIRO, together with other leading Australian research organisations, is assessing the prospect of implementing restoration at the scale of the entire Great Barrier Reef.
Discussion on key issues
With a view to stimulating broader discussion between research, government and community stakeholders, we have developed a series of discussion papers and reports:
- Monitoring for practice change in Great Barrier Reef catchments - Download discussion paper PDF (741 KB)
- Integrated modelling to inform practice change and policy making - Download discussion paper PDF (1 MB)
Landscape management papers
- Relating sediment impacts on coral reefs to watershed sources, processes and management: a review
- Using sediment tracing to assess processes and spatial patterns of erosion in grazed rangelands, Burdekin River basin, Australia
- Reducing dissolved inorganic nitrogen in surface runoff water from sugarcane production systems