NERP TE Project 6.1 Maximising the benefits of mobile predators to GBR ecosystems: the importance of movement, habitat and environment (AIMS)

This project will determine the movement and habitat use of large predatory fishes such as sharks and coral trout in reef and coastal environments of the Great Barrier Reef. This project will employ acoustic monitoring technology in a series of inshore and offshore environments including coastal bays, inshore reefs and offshore reefs to monitor the presence and movements of predator species (elasmobranchs and teleosts). Mobile predators will be fitted with acoustic transmitters to define their presence and distribution, extent of movement and amount of connectivity between study locations (i.e., movement from bay to inshore reef, movement among reef platforms, etc.). Predator presence and movement will be integrated with habitat mapping and environmental monitoring data to identify factors that lead to changes in movement patterns and to define any preferred locations or conditions that can be targeted for conservation or management. Examination of use of habitats will provide information about the amount of time spent in various GBRMP zones and amount of movement among zones to assess the amount of protection provided under current management arrangements.

Large predatory fish are essential to a balanced marine ecosystem and also form the basis of important commercial and recreational fisheries.Understanding the residency and movements of large predators is thus important to ensuring the long-term sustainability of this functional group. Similarly, understanding the conditions that cause them to migrate outside their normal home ranges will enable marine park managers to better design spatio-temporal protection now and under future climate scenarios.

Principal Investigator
Heupel, Michelle, Dr Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)

Publications / Data

Tags: marine