NERP TE Project 1.2 Marine wildlife management in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (JCU)

This project will monitor and study dugongs, dolphins and turtles along the coast of the GBRWHA with the following key tasks: 1. Determine the distribution and status of inshore dolphins in the northern Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) by identifying likely important habitats based on collaboration with Tradition Owners and published information, then conduct line transect surveys (along with biopsy samples) in the Cardwell area (Girringun) and Bathurst Bay (far northern GBR). 2. Perform aerial surveys of Dugongs from the region from the southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) to Cooktown (2011/2012) and from Cooktown north in late 2013. 3. Perform at least two field trips per year between 2011 and 2014 to collect samples of skin (turtle and dugong), feces (dugong) and marine flora (seagrass, algae and mangrove species) to examine foraging dynamics and ecosystem role of green turtles and dugongs in algal and seagrass based ecosystems of the GBRWHA (coastal zone from Bowen to Cardwell). 4. The project will also work with Traditional Owners to improve conservation of these species of conservation concern and high cultural value.

Marine mammals (dugongs and dolphins) and turtles are facing threats from human activities such as fishing, pollution and coastal development. Managers of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park need information about the current status and trends of marine species of conservation concern and how human activities such as fishing and coastal development affect populations of these species so they can be effectively managed.

Principal Investigator
Marsh, Helene, Prof. School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University (JCU)

Publications / Data

Tags: marine