NESP TWQ Round 2 - Project 2.3.1 - Benthic light as ecologically validated GBR wide indicator for water quality: drivers, thresholds and cumulative risks

Region map

The project will develop a water quality indicator based on benthic irradiance (the amount of light penetrating to the seafloor). Using experiments and field data we will develop irradiance thresholds for measures of ecosystem health, and develop prototype guideline values. The project will develop a new remote sensing algorithm of benthic irradiance, validated against open-water irradiance data. The project will quantify benthic irradiance throughout the GBR, near-daily over 14 years, and assess region-specific drivers of trends including river discharges. The indicator can directly feed into Reef Plan report cards, irradiance as a limiting factor, and about cumulative risks in the context of coral bleaching.