NERP TE Project 6.2 Drivers of juvenile shark biodiversity and abundance in inshore ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef (JCU)

Sharks play an important role in marine ecosystems but are facing increasing pressure from fishing and other anthropogenic factors. Along the Queensland coast inshore waters play an important role as nursery areas for sharks. However, the same inshore waters are also most prone to fisheries exploitation and effects of freshwater discharge from coastal streams and rivers. This project will examine the importance of different types of inshore habitat (protected bay vs. open coastline) and marine park zoning (open and closed to fishing), and how environmental factors such as freshwater discharge from rivers effect how these nursery areas function. The project has two broad objectives: A. Investigate the spatial and temporal changes in the biodiversity and abundance of sharks in inshore nursery areas along the central GBR coast. B. Determine the effect of environmental drivers on inshore shark biodiversity along the central GBR coast. Results from the project will be used to improve the information available to fisheries and marine park managers on the relative importance of inshore habitats, the role of areas closed to fishing, and the sustainability of inshore shark populations.

Sharks are facing increasing threats from fishing and other human activities. Inshore areas, which are important nursery areas for sharks, are also popular for fishing and are influenced by freshwater discharge from coastal streams and rivers. If shark populations are going to be sustainably managed into the future, a better understanding of the impact of these pressures on juvenile sharks and critical nursery habitats is required.

Principal Investigator
Simpfendorfer, Colin, Prof. School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University (JCU) colin.simpfendorfer@jcu.edu.au
Co Investigator
Tobin, Andrew, Dr School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University (JCU) andrew.tobin@jcu.edu.au

Publications / Data

Tags: marine