NERP TE Project 8.3 Significance of no-take marine protected areas to regional recruitment and population persistence on the GBR (JCU)

This project uses genetic parentage analysis, biophysical modelling and information on coral trout larval behaviour to determine patterns of recruitment of coral trout larvae within and among inshore and offshore reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef. The overall goal of this project will be to assess larval dispersal patterns, demographic connectivity and levels of recruitment subsidies from green zones at a regional scale. Tasks include: 1. Collect tissue samples from adult and juvenile coral trout, develop a new set of hyper-variable microsatellite markers, conduct DNA genotyping analyses of all samples, carry out genetic parentage analysis to examine parent-offspring relationships. 2. Refine the existing biophysical model and assess likely origins of larvae at key recruitment hot spots in the region. 3. Undertake demographic metapopulation analyses using dispersal distances and trajectories derived from this study and available demographic data (growth, natural mortality, fishing mortality) to evaluate long-term persistence of green zone and blue zone populations under different levels of fishing pressure and habitat condition.

Previous research has shown compelling evidence that networks of green zones canbe an effective tool for both biodiversity conservation and fisheries management. However, the scale over which reserves may benefit fisheries by providing recruitment subsidies to fished areas, and the degree to which they contribute to enhancing the persistence of fish populations in the long term needs to be evaluated.

Principal Investigator
Jones, Geoffery, Prof. School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University (JCU)
Co Investigator
Williamson, David, Dr. ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU)

Publications / Data

Tags: marine