Marine Monitoring Program (MMP)

Riverine flood plumes affecting the Great Barrier Reef lagoon

The Marine Monitoring Program monitors the condition of water quality and the health of key marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass in the inshore Great Barrier Reef lagoon. 

Inshore coral reefs and seagrass meadows of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are located in shallow waters and generally experience higher water turbidity and nutrient concentrations than ecosystems further offshore. These areas in the central and southern GBR are exposed to land runoff carrying excess amounts of fine sediments, nutrients and pesticides that have increased several-fold since European settlement.

Concern about negative effects of land runoff on marine ecosystems triggered management action by the Australian and Queensland governments in 2003 for catchments adjacent to the GBR World Heritage Area. The Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan (Reef Plan) has the primary goal of ensuring that ‘Good water quality sustains the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef, builds resilience, improves ecosystem health, and benefits communities.’ Reef Plan actions include setting targets for reductions of nutrients and sediments in runoff (implemented through the Paddock to Reef program) and establishing monitoring programs to assess the effectiveness of management actions.

Marine Monitoring Program monitoring sites (2017-).

Download in Google Earth KMZ.

Monitoring of inshore water quality and ecosystem health commenced in 2005 as part of the Marine Monitoring Program (MMP) in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). This program is a collaborative effort between the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), James Cook University (JCU), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS) at the University of Queensland. The MMP is managed by GBRMPA and is an extension of the Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program (RRMMP). Each aspect of the MMP can be explored in more detail below.

Further reading

Legacy projects

The following correspond to projects that were completed under the MMP but have now changed. These are retained here for history.