NERP TE Project 2.3 - Monitoring the health of Torres Strait coral reefs (AIMS)

Project summary

This project conducted a biodiversity assessment of coral communities on Torres Strait reefs to establish a baseline of coral condition and start a longer-term monitoring program of corals in the region. This monitoring looked for changes in the condition of coral reefs in the Torres Strait. As part of this project, an early warning system was established for coral bleaching to give the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), Torres Strait communities, industry and other stakeholders, the ability to predict, prepare for and respond to coral bleaching.

Torres Strait reefs assessment
Environmental conditions and satellite observations
 

Why this research is needed

The reefs of Torres Strait are a key component of the lives and livelihoods of local communities. These reefs are threatened by a variety of local and global factors: notably coral bleaching, crown-of-thorns starfish, shipping and increasing levels of coral diseases. Compared to the Great Barrier Reef, little is known about the biodiversity or condition of reefs in the Torres Strait. Improved knowledge of Torres Strait coral reefs and monitoring their status and health will help identify problems and enable the TSRA to respond where necessary.

Research-user focus

The project will contribute knowledge for the conservation and management of regional biodiversity by the Torres Strait Regional Authority. Regular updates on environmental conditions, including real-time weather and oceanographic data, not only keeps stakeholders in touch with developments but provides a vehicle for stakeholder engagement, education and information sharing. The e-atlas will archive and display data collected as part of this project and enable integration with data from other research projects (past and present) in the Torres Strait.

Outcomes

  • A review of past research on coral reefs in the Torres Strait.
  • A report on coral reef biodiversity in the Torres Strait.
  • A monitoring program for Torres Strait reefs that meets community needs.
  • Enhanced Torres Strait ranger capacity in monitoring coral reefs and in interpreting trends in the abundance of coral reef organisms.
  • A program for long-term monitoring of reef temperatures.
  • A real-time weather station and an early warning system for coral bleaching.

Environmental conditions and satellite observations

More Information

Reports, Publications and News

NERP Logo

For more information see Project 2.3 'Monitoring the health of Torres Strait coral reefs' on the NERP Tropical Ecosystems Hub site.

Photos

Datasets

Publication on
15 October 2071
PreviewThe Biophysical Oceanography Group produces monthly oceanographic reports for the eastern Australian coast, including the Torres Strait, which summarise key environmental variables such as sea surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll con
Publication on
16 December 2015
PreviewThis dataset consists of daily estimates of photic depth on the Great Barrier Reef from MODIS satellite imagery (from 2002 - 2015) using a quasi-analytical algorithm.
Publication on
16 December 2015
PreviewAs part of the NERP TE project 2.3 temperature loggers were deployed at 15 sites across Torres Strait to measure the sea temperature. The loggers regularly measure the sea water temperature and record it in their memory.
Publication on
10 December 2015
PreviewThe data consists of ten minute readings of above water meteorological parameters (wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure, air temperature and humidity) from a Vaisala WTX520 instrument, above water light as Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) from a Li-COR Li-192 sen
Publication on
1 July 2015
This project will conduct a biodiversity assessment of coral communities on Torres Strait reefs to establish a baseline of coral condition and start a longer-term monitoring program of selected coral reefs in the region. The monitoring will look for changes in the condition of coral reefs and document factors that might contribute to changes incl COTS, disease, bleaching, temperature anomalies etc. As part of this project, an early warning system will be established for coral bleaching.