NERP TE Project 9.1 Dynamic vulnerability maps and decision support tools for the Great Barrier Reef (AIMS)

To support management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, coral reef managers need decision support tools that can integrate physical and biological information at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. In this project we will construct vulnerability maps for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) This project will deliver a novel framework for linking impacts of environmental change to spatial patterns of coral reef resilience and vulnerability. We will use an innovative, multidisciplinary approach that mechanistically integrates information layers on environmental drivers (warming, hydrodynamics, ocean chemistry) with biological and ecological responses and consequences at multiple temporal and spatial scales. By combining reef vulnerability maps with social and financial criteria reef managers can optimise management planning under different environmental scenarios. Tasks include: 1. Development of vulnerability metrics, particularly those indicative of a loss of ecological function (e.g. loss of reef structure, spatial complexity, fish habitats) and goods and services. 2. Compilation of environmental parameters such as underlying physical (SST, cyclone impacts), chemical (ocean acidification, water quality), and biological (COTS, coral-algal interactions, grazing) data layers. 3. Experimental calibration of biological/ecological responses to multiple environmental variables. 4. Development of a decision support system (DSS) to guide spatial planning of the GBRMP under projected scenarios of climate change, ocean acidification and water quality. This project is now complete.

One of the greatest challenges for management planning of the GBR is to understand how to best protect reef ecosystems from different types of threats. Developing research based tools for reef managers will help identify reef areas of potentially high resilience and sensitive areas that need extra protection.

Principal Investigator
Anthony, Ken, Dr Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) K.Anthony@aims.gov.au

Publications / Data

Tags: marine