Keep­ing an eye on reef

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

WITH the start of the wet sea­son about to hit, marine man­agers and sci­en­tists are keep­ing a close eye on the Great Bar­rier Reef.

High sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures, cy­clones and flood run-off are all as­so­ci­ated with the Queens­land sum­mer and can pose a threat to the health of the reef.

Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity (GBRMPA) di­rec­tor Dr Paul Mar­shall said marine man­agers and sci­en­tists have met to dis­cuss the ex­treme weather events dur­ing sum­mer 2010-2011, as well as how the reef might fare dur­ing sum­mer.

“Pre­dic­tions from the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy for this sum­mer in­clude above av­er­age rain­fall and in­creased cy­clone ac­tiv­ity,” he said.

“This could re­sult in in­creased cloud cover which can help to keep sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures at low to av­er­age lev­els.

“While these con­di­tions may re­duce the threat of heat and light stress, corals may be af­fected by other im­pacts, such as cy­clones and flood plumes.

“Dur­ing the sum­mer, field of­fi­cers from the Depart­ment of Environment and Re­source Man­age­ment, reef in­dus­try stake­hold­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers will be un­der­tak­ing sur­veys of the reef’s health.

“The sur­veys will pro­vide early warn­ing of any prob­lems such as coral bleach­ing, dis­ease and dam­age from preda­tors and storms.”

In­for­ma­tion gleaned through sur­veys car­ried out on the reef will be used in the in­te­grated Eye on the Reef mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram.

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