NERP TE Project 6.3 Critical seabird foraging locations and trophic relationships for the Great Barrier Reef (JCU)

Overall the key objectives of this program are to: 1. Identify and map the principal foraging locations for shearwaters and boobies breeding at the most important colonies of the GBR, both within and between breeding seasons, using a combination of different Geolocation, GPS and Satellite PTT data loggers; 2. Obtain detailed information on the biophysical oceanographic characteristics of these foraging habitats in both the GBR and Coral Sea regions using a range of biophysical parameters derived from satellite and in situ data; 3. Quantify how prey availability at these sites varies with climate driven changes in biophysical oceanography; 4. quantifying the level of prey availability and associated oceanographic conditions required to maintain viable reproduction at significant breeding colonies and 5) establish potential linkages and interactions between these areas/processes and other anthropogenic activities.

This project will obtain detailed information on the distribution, stability and physiochemical characteristics of critical seabird foraging habitat throughout the GBR and simultaneously quantifying the levels of forage-fish availability associatd with differnt oceanographic conditions. These data will facilitate both seabird and fisheries management decisions, as well as providing substantial new insight into how factors determining forage-fish distribution and abundance influence the evolution of seabird life-history characteristics. Specifically, it will allow us to model the viability of specific seabird colonies or species under different global warming senarios and associated oceanographic changes and enhance our ability to identify and effectively manage overlap between potential climate related impacts and other human associated threatening processes such commercial/recreational fisheries and/or tourism development.

Principal Investigator
Congdon, Brad, Dr Centre for Tropical Environmental & Sustainability Sciences, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University (JCU) brad.congdon@jcu.edu.au

Publications / Data

Tags: marine