Latest News https://www.aims.gov.au/ en New marine science leader appointed to Western Australia https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/new-marine-science-leader-appointed-western-australia <h1 class="au-header-heading">New marine science leader appointed to Western Australia</h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Tue, 2020-09-22 15:07</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-right"> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="fd774ac4-013b-4f54-b151-dd7a836e2f18" data-langcode="en"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img height="300" src="/sites/default/files/2020-01/miller_karen_2017_300px_profile.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="300" /> </div> </article> </div> <figcaption>Dr Karen Miller, AIMS' new Research Program<br /> Director</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span>The nation’s tropical marine research agency, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), announced the appointment of <a data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="a51c7e7f-6180-438d-9710-1695cfc3cf7b" href="/node/3522">Dr Karen Miller</a> as Research Program Director in Western Australia.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Dr Miller, who has been acting in the role since December 2019, also leads AIMS’ Perth facility at the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre in Crawley. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>She will strengthen and diversify relationships with industry, regulators, and research partners to deliver science impact across the economic, social and environmental domains and continue AIMS’ close collaboration with industry partners to identify relevant knowledge gaps in marine ecosystems.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Prior to her appointment Dr Miller was a Principal Research Scientist at AIMS and the Team Leader for the agency’s Ecological and Biological Monitoring in WA. </span></span></p> <p><span><span><a data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="3a5f89f8-d21d-4529-8b4c-a4db2858442f" href="/node/3664">AIMS Chief Executive Officer Dr Paul Hardisty</a> congratulated Dr Miller on her appointment and her commitment to marine science excellence.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“The search for a science leader in WA was both very extensive and highly competitive and I am pleased that Karen’s appointment reflects the depth of internal leadership talent within AIMS.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“Karen is a proven and engaging leader who nine months ago stepped forward to guide AIMS’ west coast operations through an interim transition. In confirming this appointment, AIMS in Western Australia will continue to provide the research and knowledge necessary to support the sustainable economic growth of marine ecosystems in WA’s north-west,” he said.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Dr Miller began her scientific career studying coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef and has since worked throughout Australia, as well as in Antarctica. She started at AIMS as a Senior Research Scientist in 2014. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>Her most recent research focuses was on understanding the patterns and processes driving the distribution of benthic biodiversity across Australia's North West Shelf. She holds a PhD from James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Dr Miller said that AIMS has worked closely with industries in north-western Australia for decades to provide the scientific knowledge and data to ensure sustainable development in the region.  </span></span></p> <p><span><span>“Marine based industries are paramount to WA’s economy – they create jobs and increase national prosperity and I am excited about the opportunity to lead AIMS WA Science to ensure future generations can continue to benefit from our oceans,” she said.</span></span></p> <p><a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/Release%20-%20New%20marine%20science%20leader%20appointed%20to%20Western%20Australia.pdf">PDF | 416KB</a></p> <p><strong>Media contact</strong></p> <p>John Liston, AIMS Public Affairs: <a href="mailto:media@aims.gov.au">media@aims.gov.au</a>; +61 407 102 684 (time zone is UTC +8)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/2" hreflang="en">Latest releases</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>Media Release</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/0f8a7451_karen_miller_2017_800px.jpg" width="800" height="533" alt="Portrait photo of scientist with glasses and science texts" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 05:07:22 +0000 kate 3744 at https://www.aims.gov.au Mystery pufferfish circles discovered in Australia's north-west https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/mystery-pufferfish-circles-discovered-australias-north-west <h1 class="au-header-heading">Mystery pufferfish circles discovered in Australia&#039;s north-west</h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Thu, 2020-09-17 15:44</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Mystery circles providing evidence of a potential new species of pufferfish have been discovered in Australia’s north-west by researchers at The University of Western Australia and Australian Institute of Marine Science.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The </span></span><a href="https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fonlinelibrary.wiley.com%2Fdoi%2Fabs%2F10.1111%2Fjfb.14506%3Faf%3DR&amp;data=02%7C01%7Canna-lee.harry%40uwa.edu.au%7C84c01216133e49c117b908d847bcdb3f%7C05894af0cb2846d8871674cdb46e2226%7C1%7C0%7C637338223742862811&amp;sdata=jkCLy8oF3bwrFzIuwnC%2FcF7O7%2FTiDNYVPHPSNAy8Mek%3D&amp;reserved=0"><span>research</span></a><span><span>, published in the <em>Journal of Fish Biology</em>, placed the discovery at more than 5500km away from the only other similarly described structures off Amami-Oshima Island in southern Japan.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The discovery was made on the North West Shelf of Western Australia when 22 mystery circles were spotted on video footage collected by Fugro during an inspection of the Echo Yodel subsea infrastructure – operated by Woodside on behalf of the North West Shelf Project participants – and while surveying fish along the ancient coastline.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The circles, which are the first to be found in Australia, were recognised by the researchers as the complex underwater structures created by the white-spotted pufferfish previously thought to be found only in southern Japan.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Most notably the size, number of ridges and presence of an intricate central circle with two outer rings makes them comparable to those found in Japanese waters.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Originally found at depths of less than 30m in Japan, the finding in the north-west extends their depth occurrence to 137m.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Sightings of pufferfish were captured in the immediate vicinity of the circles, near the subsea infrastructure, from Woodside footage using a remotely operated vehicle and an autonomous underwater vehicle, although further investigation was needed to classify the species.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Lead author Todd Bond from UWA’s Oceans Institute and School of Biological Sciences said the discovery of the unique circle structures were most likely produced by a male pufferfish species to use as a nest.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“The pufferfish species responsible cannot be identified from the images collected but it is possibly a new species,” Mr Bond said.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Not only does this discovery spark intrigue and wonder among scientists and the general public, it also provides an insight into the reproductive behaviour and evolution of pufferfish globally.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Matthew Birt from AIMS said the discovery showed the importance of working alongside industry to uncover the wealth of information so far undiscovered.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span> <span><span>“Industry routinely conduct video surveys of their assets which are often located in deep and remote waters,” Mr Birt said.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“So it’s great that operators of oil and gas infrastructure share their video imagery to build on our existing scientific knowledge.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>“We can now focus on mapping the distribution of these elaborate pufferfish structures and plan scientific expeditions to collect biological samples so that we can identify and classify the fish.”</span></span></span></span></span></span><br />  </p> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="a667a6f7-3dc2-4fd5-b13a-8889944acbf7" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity align-center"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-oembed-video field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"> <iframe src="/media/oembed?url=https%3A//youtu.be/FAIT-WWpDN4&amp;max_width=0&amp;max_height=0&amp;hash=N6D9W1qRVN-vFDaa0XpP-CIY1X9SVYXH6IuJkCAXQq4" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="" width="480" height="270" class="media-oembed-content" title="Mystery pufferfish circles discovered in Australia’s north-west"></iframe></div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Latest news</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>News</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-featured-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Featured image</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/5218/edit" hreflang="en">Pufferfish circles_UWA</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/_ad_eyumb_auv_puffer_circles_23.606.jpg" width="723" height="579" alt="circular pattern on the seafloor" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Thu, 17 Sep 2020 05:44:46 +0000 kate 3745 at https://www.aims.gov.au Biggest fish in the sea are girls https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/biggest-fish-sea-are-girls <h1 class="au-header-heading">Biggest fish in the sea are girls</h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Wed, 2020-09-16 09:11</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong><span><span><em><span><span>Whale shark girls overtake the boys to become world’s largest fish</span></span></em></span></span></strong></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Female whale sharks grow more slowly than males but end up being larger, research suggests.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>A decade-long study of the iconic fish has found male whale sharks grow quickly, before plateauing at an average adult length of about eight or nine metres.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Female whale sharks grow more slowly but eventually overtake the males, reaching an average adult length of about 14 metres.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Australian Institute of Marine Science fish biologist </span></span><a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/our-people/dr-mark-meekan"><span lang="EN-AU" xml:lang="EN-AU" xml:lang="EN-AU"><span>Dr Mark Meekan</span></span></a><span><span>, who led the research, said whale sharks have been reported up to 18 metres long.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“That’s absolutely huge—about the size of a bendy bus on a city street,” he said.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“But even though they’re big, they’re growing very, very slowly. It’s only about 20cm or 30cm a year.”</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In conducting the research, scientists visited Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef for 11 seasons between 2009 and 2019.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>They tracked 54 whale sharks as they grew—a feat made possible by a unique ‘fingerprint’ of spots on each whale shark that can be used to identify individual fish.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>AIMS marine scientist Dr Brett Taylor said the team recorded more than 1000 whale shark measurements using stereo-video cameras.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“It’s basically two cameras set up on a frame that you push along when you’re underwater,” he said.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“It works the same way our eyes do—so you can calibrate the two video recordings and get a very accurate measurement of the shark.”</span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-center"> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="6e1d166c-7cb1-4e3c-9736-8f0eb8514355" data-langcode="en"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img alt="Whaleshark and researcher with stereovideo" height="600" src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/p1355075_800px.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="800" /> </div> </article> </div> <figcaption>AIMS' Dr Mark Meekan measures the length of a whale shark using a stereovideo camera. Photo: Andre Rerekura</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span><span><span>The study also included data from whale sharks in aquaria.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Dr Meekan said it is the first evidence that males and female whale sharks grow differently.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>For the females, there are huge advantages to being big, he said.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“Only one pregnant whale shark had ever been found, and she had 300 young inside her,” Dr Meekan said.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“That’s a remarkable number, most sharks would only have somewhere between two and a dozen.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“So these giant females are probably getting big because of the need to carry a whole lot of pups.”</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Whale sharks are Western Australia’s marine emblem, and swimming with the iconic fish at Ningaloo Reef boosts the local economy to the tune of $24 million a year.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>But they were listed as endangered in 2016.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Dr Meekan said the discovery has huge implications for conservation, with whale sharks threatened by targeted fishing and ships strikes.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“If you’re a very slow-growing animal and it takes you 30 years or more to get to maturity, the chances of disaster striking before you get a chance to breed is probably quite high,” he said.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“And that’s a real worry for whale sharks.”</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Dr Meekan said the finding also explains why gatherings of whale sharks in tropical regions are made up almost entirely of young males.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“They gather to exploit an abundance of food so they can maintain their fast growth rates,” he said.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Dr Taylor said learning that whale sharks plateau in their growth goes against everything scientists previously thought.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>“This paper has really re-written what we know about whale shark growth,” he said.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Dr Meekan and Dr Taylor are based in Perth, Western Australia.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>The research was published today in the journal </span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.575683/full"><em><span lang="EN-AU" xml:lang="EN-AU" xml:lang="EN-AU"><span>Frontiers in Marine Science</span></span></em></a></span></span><em><span><span>.</span></span></em></p> <p><em><span><span>Feature image: Andre Rerekura</span></span></em></p> <p><a href="/sites/default/files/2020-09/Media%20Release_Biggest%20fish%20in%20the%20sea%20are%20girls_AIMS_Sept_2020.pdf">Download | 176KB</a></p> <p><strong><span><span>Media contact</span></span></strong></p> <p><span><span>John Liston, AIMS Public Affairs: <a href="mailto:media@aims.gov.au">media@aims.gov.au</a>; +61 407 102 684 (time zone is UTC +8)</span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/2" hreflang="en">Latest releases</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>Media Release</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-featured-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Featured image</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/5215/edit" hreflang="en">Whale shark_AndreRerekura</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/p1355075_800px.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Whaleshark and researcher with stereovideo" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Tue, 15 Sep 2020 23:11:57 +0000 kate 3742 at https://www.aims.gov.au Statement in response to “scientific duel” https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/statement-response-scientific-duel <h1 class="au-header-heading">Statement in response to “scientific duel”</h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Sat, 2020-09-05 12:17</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><span><span>On 4<sup>th</sup> September 2020, Dr Peter Ridd posted on Facebook and issued a media release about a so-called “scientific duel” to be held between him and AIMS’ Dr Paul Hardisty in Townsville next month.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>This event has been set-up and advertised without Dr Hardisty’s knowledge or consent, complete with a venue, format, timings, and pre-determined topics. Dr Hardisty was not party to these arrangements in any way. No formal proposal has been made to him, nor has he been involved in a dialogue about this purported event. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>This is not a constructive or collegiate way to advance science. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>As Australia’s national marine science agency we will continue to take part in appropriate and respectful scientific discourse carried out in good faith, and remain focused on delivering solutions for the nation.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><strong>Media contact</strong></span></span></p> <p><span><span>John Liston, Corporate Communication Manager; <a href="mailto:j.liston@aims.gov.au">j.liston@aims.gov.au</a>, 0407 102 684 (time zone is UTC +8)</span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/2" hreflang="en">Latest releases</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>Media Release</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/aims_logo_blue_background_1x1.png" width="2000" height="2000" alt="AIMS logo" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Sat, 05 Sep 2020 02:17:17 +0000 kate 3736 at https://www.aims.gov.au Stick ‘em up: new test can detect crown-of-thorns starfish as quickly as a home pregnancy kit https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/stick-em-new-test-can-detect-crown-thorns-starfish-quickly-home-pregnancy-kit <h1 class="au-header-heading">Stick ‘em up: new test can detect crown-of-thorns starfish as quickly as a home pregnancy kit </h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Thu, 2020-09-03 13:39</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><span><span><span>Researchers at the Australian Institute of Marine Science have <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/edn3.123">developed a dipstick test</a> that can detect crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS) on coral reefs by using the same technology as home pregnancy tests. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The dipstick, which is designed to be used in the field, measures specific DNA that CoTS release into the seawater. The rapid test can detect very low numbers of the coral-eating pest, which can be difficult to spot with current survey methods.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>AIMS biochemist and the study’s <a data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="88d514ee-b193-4117-8490-feedf7b404b2" href="/node/3498">lead author Jason Doyle</a> (pictured above) said the sensitive test could support an early warning and intervention system for future CoTS outbreaks. It could also enable citizen scientists, tourism operators and Great Barrier Reef managers to help with early warnings.</span></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span>“It’s the sort of technology we would love to get out to as many people as possible, because the more people that are doing this kind of test, the more information we have about the location of CoTS and the better management outcomes we can achieve,” Mr Doyle said. </span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-center"> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="c960623d-e488-4ad5-86c3-0c88a02064c2" data-langcode="en"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img height="600" src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/img_5278_800px_0.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="800" /> </div> </article> </div> <figcaption>A lateral flow assay, or 'dipstick' showing a positive result for crown-of-thorns starfish eDNA in a sample</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span><span>An average adult CoTS (<em>Acanthaster cf. solaris</em>) can eat up to a dinner-plate amount of coral every day, and outbreaks contribute considerably to the loss of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. There have been three outbreaks since 1962, with a fourth outbreak currently underway.  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The native starfish often hide under or on coral plates, while younger CoTS can be as small as a couple of millimeters. This makes it harder for traditional diver surveys to spot the creatures and identify emerging outbreaks. </span></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span>The dipstick test research, published in the journal <em>Environmental DNA</em>, <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/docs/media/latest-releases/-/asset_publisher/8Kfw/content/scientists-make-breakthrough-in-war-against-crown-of-thorns-starfish"><span>builds on AIMS’ previous breakthrough work</span></a> developing laboratory-based, DNA-detection techniques to find CoTS more effectively and at pre-outbreak levels.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Organisms leave a genetic shadow wherever they go, so we use the genetic shadow of CoTS in seawater to flag the presence of both adults and babies,” Mr Doyle said. “But if this technique was really going to be an early warning system, we needed to bring our validated tools for  environmental DNA (eDNA) detection out of the lab and into the hands of non-lab people in the field.” </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>For their recent study, Mr Doyle and his AIMS colleague <a data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="a00f2182-77ff-4cff-a6a8-5bc13aa8cedc" href="/node/3541">Dr Sven Uthicke</a> turned to the world of human diagnostics for the answer. They adapted an off-the-shelf dipstick and a technology called Lateral Flow Assay (LFA) to detect DNA in marine environments. LFA has been used for many years in home blood sugar and pregnancy tests, and more recently for Coronavirus tests. </span></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span><span>The new test can measure very small amounts of CoTS DNA, down to 0.1 picograms, making it potentially sensitive to very low densities of the animal. </span></span></span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span>Like its human-diagnostic counterparts, the CoTS dipstick tests reveal a positive response via the appearance of a stripe.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN">Researchers collected seawater samples from Lizard Island, north of Cairns, and Elizabeth Reef, north of Mackay, and found CoTS DNA where traditional survey methods did not find any of the animals. </span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-center"> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="ce7d8d57-83ce-4d51-b3d1-8c00470e700c" data-langcode="en"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img height="533" src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/peart_v24_0385_800px.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="800" /> </div> </article> </div> <figcaption>Crown-of-thorns starfish eating a plate coral on the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: AIMS</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span><span>Mr Doyle said the study was the first step in developing a tool that could eventually require just a few drops of seawater to detect CoTS. He also stressed that the new method is not an alternative to survey methods but would enhance their cost effectiveness. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“We see it as a way to raise the red flag so we know there's probably a good reason to get people in the water in this spot, but not that spot over there, maximising the use of resources such as divers, boats and other infrastructure,” he said.</span></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span><span>This research was published in the journal <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/edn3.123">Environmental DNA</a> and supported by a National Geographic Society grant and the Ian Potter Foundation.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><a href="/sites/default/files/2020-09/Media%20Release_AIMS_COTS%20dipstick_September3_2020_FINAL.pdf">Download media release | 358KB</a></p> <p><strong><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span><span>Media contacts</span></span></span></span></strong></p> <p><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span><span><span>Kate Green, Senior Communication Officer: </span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span><a href="mailto:k.green@aims.gov.au"><span><span>media@aims.gov.au</span></span></a></span></span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span><span><span>; +61 419 741 724 (timezone is UTC + 10)</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span><span><span>John Liston, AIMS Corporate Communication Manager: </span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span><a href="mailto:j.liston@aims.gov.au"><span><span>media@aims.gov.au</span></span></a></span></span></span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN"><span><span><span><span>; +61 407 102 684 (time zone is UTC +8)</span></span></span></span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/2" hreflang="en">Latest releases</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>Media Release</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-featured-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Featured image</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/5185/edit" hreflang="en">Jason Doyle with COTS eDNA field kit</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/img_5267_800px.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="man kneeling next to box holding water sampling equipment and strip test." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Thu, 03 Sep 2020 03:39:51 +0000 kate 3735 at https://www.aims.gov.au Difficult, complex decisions underpin the future of the world’s coral reefs https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/difficult-complex-decisions-underpin-future-worlds-coral-reefs <h1 class="au-header-heading">Difficult, complex decisions underpin the future of the world’s coral reefs </h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Thu, 2020-08-27 04:01</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><span><span><span>Effective solutions to the climate challenge threatening the world’s coral reefs require complex decisions about risk and uncertainty, timing, quality versus quantity as well as which species to support for the most robust and productive future, according to a science paper released today.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0236399"><em><span>Interventions to help coral reefs under global change – a complex decision challenge</span></em></a><span>, by a group of key scientists from Australia’s </span><a href="http://www.GBRrestoration.org"><span>Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP)</span></a><span>, was today published in PLOS ONE.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The paper warns that while best-practice conventional management is essential, it is unlikely to be enough to sustain coral reefs under continued climate change. Nor is </span><span lang="EN" xml:lang="EN" xml:lang="EN">reducing emissions of greenhouse gases</span><span>, on its own, sufficient any longer.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Lead author - marine biologist and decision scientist <a data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="6a256115-308c-48c6-aadd-432f9a8a649c" href="/node/3490">Dr Ken Anthony</a>, of the </span><a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/"><span>Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)</span></a><span> - said that even with strong action to reduce carbon emissions, global temperatures could stay elevated for decades.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Coordinated, novel interventions will most likely be needed <em>–</em> combined with best-practice conventional reef management and reduced carbon emissions <em>–</em> to help the Reef become resilient in the face of climate change,” he said.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Developing new technologies for environmental management and conservation carries some risks but delaying action represents a lost opportunity to sustain the Reef in the best condition possible.” </span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-right"> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="bd49a514-edce-4af5-913d-509d2df1c9d1" data-langcode="en"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img height="450" src="/sites/default/files/2020-08/copyrightaims_creditandreaseverati_secore_shapedeployment1hr_1_portrait_300px.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="300" /> </div> </article> </div> <figcaption>An AIMS diver trialling coral settlement devices<br /> on the Great Barrier Reef to help regenerate<br /> degraded reefs. photo: Andrea Severati/AIMS</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span><span>Such interventions include local and regional cooling and shading technologies such as brightening clouds to reflect sunlight and shade the reef, assisting the natural evolution of corals to increase their resilience to the changing environment, and measures to support and enhance the natural recovery of damaged reefs.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>The paper draws parallels between the risk assessment of coral reef interventions and driverless cars and new drugs. It outlines the prioritisation challenges and the trade-offs that need to be weighed.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“For example, should we aim to sustain minimal coral cover over a very large area of the reef or moderate coral cover over a smaller area?” he said.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“While the net result of coral area sustained may be the same, it could produce very different ecological outcomes and values for industries like tourism.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Spreading efforts thinly could reduce the Reef’s capacity to sustain critical ecological functions, while concentrating efforts on a selection of just a few reefs could sustain most of the Reef’s tourism industry, which is spatially concentrated. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“But under severe climate change, preserving more coral cover in smaller areas could reduce the Great Barrier Reef to a fragmented (and therefore vulnerable) network of coral oases in an otherwise desolate seascape.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>Dr Anthony said prioritising the coral species to be supported by adaptation and restoration measures added to the decision challenge for reef restoration and adaptation.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Without significant climate mitigation, sensitive coral species will give way to naturally hardier ones, or to species that can adapt faster,” he said. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>“Picking who should be winners, and ultimately who will be losers under continued but uncertain climate change is perhaps the biggest challenge facing R&amp;D programs tasked with developing reef rescue interventions.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Co-author and <a data-entity-type="node" data-entity-uuid="3a5f89f8-d21d-4529-8b4c-a4db2858442f" href="/node/3664">AIMS CEO Dr Paul Hardisty</a> said how interventions were chosen and progressed for research and development would determine what options were available for reef managers and when.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Ultimately, we need to consider what society wants, what can be achieved and what opportunities</span> <span>we have for action in a rapidly closing window,” he said. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“It will require exceptional coordination of science, management and policy, and open engagement</span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> with the Traditional Owners and the general public. It will also require compromise, because reefs will change under climate change </span><span>despite our best interventions.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><a href="http://www.GBRrestoration.org">RRAP</a> is a partnership of organisations working together to create an innovative toolkit of safe,</span><span> acceptable, large-scale interventions to helping the Reef resist, adapt to, and recover from the </span><span>impacts of climate change. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>In April, the Australian Government announced that an initial $150M would be invested in the RRAP</span></span><span><span> R&amp;D Program following endorsement of a two-year feasibility study. Of this, $100M is through the $443.3 million </span></span><span><span><a href="https://www.barrierreef.org/what-we-do/reef-trust-partnership"><span>Great Barrier Reef Foundation – Reef Trust Partnership</span></a></span></span><span><span> with a further $50M in research and scientific contributions from the program partners.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Dr Hardisty said RRAP aimed to research and develop new methods for management quickly and safely.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“We need to be expediently trialling promising interventions now, whatever emissions trajectory the world follows,” he said. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>“In this paper we offer a conceptual model to help reef managers frame decision problems and objectives, and to guide effective strategy choices in the face of complexity and uncertainty.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Other authors include: Dr Line Bay, David Mead and Dr Britta Schaffelke from AIMS; Queensland University of Technology’s Dr Kate Helmstedt and Professor Kerrie Wilson; University of Queensland’s Dr Pedro Fidelman, Professor Karen Hussey, and Professor Peter Mumby; James Cook University’s Dr Ian McLeod and Dr Maxine Newlands and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Dr Petra Lundgren.</span></span></p> <p><a href="www.aims.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-08/media%20releases_2020_200827%20RRAP%20Decision%20Science%20paper%20released.pdf"><span><span>Download release | 532KB</span></span></a></p> <p><strong><span><span>Media contact</span></span></strong></p> <p><span><span>RRAP Communication Manager Danielle Koopman, 0402 968 131, <a href="mailto:d.koopman@aims.gov.au">d.koopman@aims.gov.au</a></span></span></p> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="8fd00890-540a-4104-ac1a-bfe53ccba687" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity align-center"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-08/aims_rrap_logo_cloud_one_line_jun20_1200px.jpg" width="1172" height="215" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/2" hreflang="en">Latest releases</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>Media Release</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-featured-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Featured image</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/5174/edit" hreflang="en">Reefscape_JohnBrewerReef_2017_NealCantin</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-08/jbrewer_1apr2017_p4015808_ncantin_aims_800px.jpg" width="800" height="500" alt="A coral reef with some bleached corals" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Wed, 26 Aug 2020 18:01:57 +0000 kate 3732 at https://www.aims.gov.au Long-term monitoring shows small start to recovery on Reef, but more coral trout in Green Zones https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/long-term-monitoring-shows-small-start-recovery-reef-more-coral-trout-green-zones <h1 class="au-header-heading">Long-term monitoring shows small start to recovery on Reef, but more coral trout in Green Zones</h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Fri, 2020-08-21 16:18</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h3><span><span><span><span><span>Key points</span></span></span></span></span></h3> <ul> <li>Hard coral cover showed signs of initial recovery on the Great Barrier Reef</li> <li>Coral trout have grown larger and are more numerous since 2004</li> <li>The effect of last Summer’s marine heatwave and coral bleaching will not be known until further surveys are completed this year</li> </ul> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-center"> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="560246ef-2f84-4a1b-af03-b581520ab77f" data-langcode="en"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img height="450" src="/sites/default/files/2020-08/img_4349_800px.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="800" /> </div> </article> </div> <figcaption>AIMS scientist using the manta tow method to survey the perimeter of a reef on the Great Barrier Reef</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span><span><span><span>AIMS scientists have recorded small increases in coral cover across much of the Great Barrier Reef according to underwater survey results released today.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The Australian Institute of Marine Science’s (AIMS)<a href="/reef-monitoring/gbr-condition-summary-2019-2020"> Annual Summary Report on coral reef condition for 2019/20</a> is drawn from surveys undertaken between September 2019 and June 2020, with most of the reefs surveyed before last Summer’s mass coral bleaching event. </span></span> </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/docs/research/monitoring/reef/latest-surveys.html">AIMS Long-Term Monitoring Program Team</a> leader Dr Mike Emslie said the bleaching event, the third such event in five years, may set back the Reef’s recovery.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>“The slight increases in coral cover across much of the Great Barrier Reef this past year are encouraging, but the full effect of the mass bleaching on coral mortality will not be known for several months,</span></span><span><span>” Dr Emslie said.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <ul> <li><span><span><span><span><span>Read the <strong><a href="/reef-monitoring/gbr-condition-summary-2019-2020">Annual Summary Report on coral reef condition for 2019/20</a></strong></span></span></span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><span><span>Take a <a href="/sites/default/files/2020-08/AIMS%20LTMP%20GBR%20Annual%20Summary%20Report%20QuickLook_August2020pdf.pdf">'<strong>Quick Look'</strong></a> at the results</span></span></span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><span><span>Learn more about the <strong><a href="/sites/default/files/2020-08/AIMS%20Long%20Term%20Monitoring%20Program_Background%20Information_August%202020.pdf">AIMS Long-Term Monitoring Program</a></strong></span></span></span></span></span></li> </ul> <h3><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>Understanding changes in reef condition using hard coral cover</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Coral cover, expressed as a percentage, is a widely used measure to describe the proportion of the reef surface covered in live hard coral. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>The report found while there was considerable variation in coral cover between the 86 reefs surveyed, more than two thirds had slightly increased coral cover.</span></span>  </span></span></span></p> <p class="paragraph"><span><span><span><span><span>On reefs in the Central region between Hinchinbrook Island and Mackay, hard coral cover increased on average from 12% in 2019 to 14% in 2020. </span></span> </span></span></span></p> <p class="paragraph"><span><span><span><span><span>Coral cover in the Northern Great Barrier Reef between Cape York and Hinchinbrook Island was stable from 2019 levels, </span></span><span>increased from the lowest-ever level of 12% in 2017. Coral cover</span><span><span> marginally increased in the Southern region, between Mackay and Gladstone.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="paragraph"><span><span><span><span><span>These slight increases indicate recovery had begun after the Reef had been subjected to multiple disturbances from bleaching, cyclones and coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks</span></span><span>.</span> </span></span></span></p> <p class="paragraph"><span><span><span><span><span>This year, the Southern region had the highest cover of all three regions at 24%, and historically has been the most dynamic, with strong recovery from 2011 (9%) to 2017 (32%). This recovery was reversed from 2017 to 2020 due to crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks in the Swains sector. Coral cover is currently just over half of what it was in 1988 in this area - 40%, the highest year recorded by AIMS.</span></span> </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>“The Reef is taking repeated hits from coral bleaching, cyclones and crown-of-thorns outbreaks. While we have seen the Great Barrier Reef’s ability to begin recovery from these pressures, the frequency and intensity of disturbances means less time for full recovery to take place” Dr Emslie said.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>Coral trout larger and more abundant in ‘Green Zones’</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></h3> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-center"> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="339937ee-b3c8-4613-8c24-fe16e04f318a" data-langcode="en"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img height="520" src="/sites/default/files/2020-08/coral_trouth_cropped_800px.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="800" /> </div> </article> </div> <figcaption>A coral trout on the Great Barrier Reef. Image: F. Kroon, AIMS</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span><span>The <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/docs/research/monitoring/reef/latest-surveys.html">AIMS Long-Term Monitoring Program</a> surveys more than just coral reefs. The team also monitors fish communities, and since 2006 has been monitoring the effectiveness of re-zoning within the Marine Park. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A noteworthy result this year was that coral trout numbers continued to increase on reefs inside “no-take” marine reserves compared to reefs open to fishing. Coral trout in these “Green Zones” were found to be larger and more numerous, with nearly twice as many of the fish compared to the number in “Blue Zones”.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Dr Emslie said coral trout are one of the most valuable species of fish targeted by both recreational anglers and commercial fishers in the Great Barrier Reef.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“As numbers of coral trout in protected areas increase and they grow larger in size, they produce more offspring. Some coral trout larvae are transported from Green Zones and re-seed populations in Blue Zones, which means more fish available for anglers.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“The new result confirms that the science behind the Marine Park’s re-zoning continues to benefit Queenslanders.”</span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><span><span>Long-term monitoring to understand long-term trends </span></span></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>For more than three decades, AIMS has been monitoring the Great Barrier Reef - a national icon and a key habitat provider for thousands of fish and invertebrate species. The Reef supports 64,000 jobs in Queensland and contributes $6.4 billion to the Australian economy.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“This report from AIMS’ <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/docs/research/monitoring/reef/latest-surveys.html">Long-Term Monitoring Program</a> provides the most extensive and comprehensive record of coral condition of a single reef ecosystem available in the world,” said <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/our-people/dr-britta-schaffelke">Dr Britta Schaffelke</a>, AIMS’ Research Program Director for the Healthy and Resilient Great Barrier Reef Program.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“The 35 year-long dataset of the Program helps to determine long-term trends in the condition of coral communities across the Great Barrier Reef. It shows that the condition of the mid-shelf and outer reefs have declined in response to the cumulative impacts of marine heatwaves, cyclones and outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“This survey season has revealed that Great Barrier Reef reefs were beginning to recover from the recent disturbance history, however the third mass coral bleaching event in five years from several weeks of sustained, unprecedented, high sea temperatures may set-back recovery.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Reefs may take up to decades to recover from severe coral loss, but the more frequent onset of these events is reducing the time for recovery.” Dr Schaffelke said.</span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <div data-embed-button="media_entity_embed" data-entity-embed-display="view_mode:media.embed" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="4eab7be8-f453-4032-8dee-e7fc35598574" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity align-center"> <article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-oembed-video field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"> <iframe src="/media/oembed?url=https%3A//youtu.be/zYcB3AFpRNs&amp;max_width=0&amp;max_height=0&amp;hash=U0WyDE68DHLXjcOPzinjcvybvLionbnzgzncwYLQN64" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="" width="480" height="270" class="media-oembed-content" title="AIMS' Long-Term Monitoring of the Great Barrier Reef - Annual Summary Report 2019/20"></iframe></div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Latest news</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>News</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-08/img_4349_800px.jpg" width="800" height="450" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Fri, 21 Aug 2020 06:18:20 +0000 kate 3731 at https://www.aims.gov.au Small start to coral recovery in the Great Barrier Reef but large increase in coral trout https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/small-start-coral-recovery-great-barrier-reef-large-increase-coral-trout <h1 class="au-header-heading">Small start to coral recovery in the Great Barrier Reef but large increase in coral trout</h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Fri, 2020-08-21 08:02</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><ul> <li><strong>Hard coral cover showed signs of initial recovery on the Great Barrier Reef</strong></li> <li><strong>Coral trout have grown larger and are more numerous since 2004</strong></li> <li><strong>The effect of last Summer’s marine heatwave and coral bleaching will not be known until further surveys are completed this year</strong></li> </ul> <p>Marine scientists recorded small increases in coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef according to underwater survey results released today (21 August 2020).</p> <p>The Australian Institute of Marine Science’s (AIMS) <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/reef-monitoring/gbr-condition-summary-2019-2020">Annual Summary Report on coral reef condition for 2019/20</a> is drawn from surveys undertaken between September 2019 and June 2020, with most of the reefs surveyed before last Summer’s mass coral bleaching event.</p> <p>The full effects of this event on coral cover will not be known for some months and may set back the Reef’s recovery.</p> <p>Coral cover is a widely used measure to describe the proportion of the reef surface covered in live hard coral.</p> <p>The report found that while there was considerable variation in coral cover between the 86 reefs surveyed, more than two thirds had slightly increased coral cover.</p> <p>In the Central region between Hinchinbrook Island and Mackay, hard coral cover increased on average from 12% in 2019 to 14% in 2020.</p> <p>Coral cover in the Northern Great Barrier Reef was stable, while it marginally increased in the Southern region.</p> <p>These slight increases indicate recovery had begun after the Reef had been subjected to multiple disturbances from bleaching, cyclones and coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks.</p> <p>This year, the Southern region had the highest cover of all three regions at 24%, and historically has been the most dynamic, with strong recovery from 2011 (9%) to 2017 (32%). This recovery was reversed from 2017 to 2020 due to crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks in the Swains sector. Coral cover is currently just over half of what it was in 1988 (at 40% this is the highest year recorded by AIMS).</p> <p>In addition to monitoring the coral, which is providing habitat for many other sea creatures, AIMS also examined fish communities. A noteworthy result this year was that coral trout numbers continued to increase on reefs inside “no-take” marine reserves compared to reefs open to fishing.</p> <p><a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/reef-monitoring/gbr-condition-summary-2019-2020">The report</a> found coral trout in these “Green Zones” are larger and more numerous, with nearly twice as many of the fish compared to the number in “Blue Zones”.</p> <p>Coral trout are one of the most valuable species of fish targeted by both recreational anglers and commercial fishers in the Great Barrier Reef.</p> <p>AIMS has been monitoring the Great Barrier Reef for more than three decades. AIMS data is the largest, longest and most comprehensive information source on the health of the Great Barrier Reef providing a continuous record of change in reef communities.</p> <p>The Great Barrier Reef is a national icon and a key habitat provider for thousands of fish and invertebrate species. It supports 64,000 jobs in Queensland and contributes $6.4 billion to the Australian economy.</p> <p><strong>Comments attributed to Dr Mike Emslie, leader of AIMS’ Long-Term Monitoring Program</strong></p> <p>“This monitoring program has been conducted continuously for 35 years. Our surveys along the length and breadth of the Great Barrier Reef tell us that the reef is resilient, but this resilience has limits.</p> <p>“The slight increases in coral cover across much of the Great Barrier Reef this past year are encouraging but the full effect of the mass bleaching on coral mortality will not be known for several months.</p> <p>“The Reef is taking repeated hits from coral bleaching, cyclones and crown-of-thorns outbreaks. While we have seen the Great Barrier Reef’s ability to begin recovery from these pressures, the frequency and intensity of disturbances means less time for full recovery to take place.</p> <p>“The coral trout in the protected Green Zones of the Reef are bigger and there’s a lot more of them than in reefs open to fishing.</p> <p>“As numbers of coral trout in protected areas increase and they grow larger in size, they produce more offspring. Some coral trout larvae are transported from Green Zones and re-seed populations in Blue Zones, which means more fish available for anglers.</p> <p>“The new result confirms that the science behind the Marine Park’s rezoning continues to benefit Queenslanders.”</p> <p><strong>Comments attributed to <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/our-people/dr-britta-schaffelke">Dr Britta Schaffelke</a>, Research Program Director - Great Barrier Reef</strong></p> <p>“This report from AIMS’ Long-Term Monitoring Program provides the most extensive and comprehensive record of coral condition of a single reef ecosystem available in the world.</p> <p>“The 35 year-long dataset of the AIMS’ Long-Term Monitoring Program helps to determine long-term trends in the condition of coral communities across the Great Barrier Reef. It shows that the condition of the mid-shelf and outer reefs have declined in response to the cumulative impacts of marine heatwaves, cyclones and outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.</p> <p>“This survey season has revealed that Great Barrier Reef reefs were beginning to recover from the recent disturbance history, however the third mass coral bleaching event in five years from several weeks of sustained, unprecedented, high sea temperatures may set-back recovery.</p> <p>“Reefs may take up to decades to recover from severe coral loss, but the more frequent onset of these events is reducing the time for recovery.”</p> <p><a href="/sites/default/files/2020-08/Media%20Release%20-%20Annual%20Reef%20Condition%20Report%202020_21August2020web.pdf"><strong>Download Media Release | 182KB</strong></a></p> <p><strong><a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/reef-monitoring/gbr-condition-summary-2019-2020">View</a> or <a href="/sites/default/files/2020-08/AIMS_LTMP_AnnualSummaryReport_2019-20_Aug21_2020.pdf">download</a> the Annual Summary Report</strong></p> <p><strong>Media contacts</strong></p> <p>John Liston, AIMS Public Affairs: <a href="mailto:media@aims.gov.au">media@aims.gov.au</a>; +61 407 102 684 (time zone is UTC +8)</p> <p>Kate Green, Senior Communication Officer: <a href="mailto:media@aims.gov.au">media@aims.gov.au</a>; +61 419 741 724 (time zone is UTC +10)</p> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/2" hreflang="en">Latest releases</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>Media Release</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-featured-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Featured image</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/5166/edit" hreflang="en">Marine scientist on manta board over reef</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-08/creditltmp_img_1822copyrightaims_2020_800px.jpg" width="800" height="533" alt="Marine scientist on manta board over reef" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Thu, 20 Aug 2020 22:02:33 +0000 kate 3730 at https://www.aims.gov.au First ever global survey of reef sharks reveals widespread decline https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/first-ever-global-survey-reef-sharks-reveals-widespread-decline <h1 class="au-header-heading">First ever global survey of reef sharks reveals widespread decline</h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Thu, 2020-07-23 05:54</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>Results shows reef sharks are functionally extinct on many coral reefs, but Australian populations are among the healthiest.</strong></p> <p>A landmark <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2519-y">new study published today in Nature</a> by <a href="https://globalfinprint.org/">Global FinPrint</a> reveals sharks are virtually absent on many of the world’s coral reefs. Sharks were not observed on nearly 20 percent of the 371 reefs surveyed in 58 countries, indicating a widespread decline that has largely gone undocumented until this global survey.</p> <p>Fortunately, Australia is a country where shark populations on coral reefs are still largely intact. The most common shark species observed were grey reef, whitetip reef and blacktip reef sharks.</p> <p><a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/our-people/dr-mark-meekan">Dr Mark Meekan</a>, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Perth and Principal Investigator for the Global FinPrint project in the Indian Ocean region said good management plays a key role in determining the status of reef sharks.</p> <p>“Our survey not only reveals the plight of sharks on coral reefs, which is in many cases very worrying, it also reveals how control of shark fishing can make effective conservation gains,” Dr Meekan said.</p> <p>Australia was one of several nations where the study revealed that shark conservation on coral reefs is working. Other nations include the Bahamas, the Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, the Maldives, and the United States.</p> <p>Dr Meekan said reef sharks play an important role maintaining a healthy ecosystem.</p> <p>“Sharks are important for the ecology of coral reefs, particularly at a time when they are facing so many other threats from climate change. But few people realise that reef sharks are also an important part of the economies of many small island nations around the world because they are a key attraction for reef tourism.</p> <p>“Rebuilding shark numbers isn’t just good sense ecologically – it also makes good sense economically,” Dr Meekan said.</p> <p>AIMS scientist Dr Michelle Heupel, and Global FinPrint Principal Investigator in the Western Pacific, said this world first study relied on cooperation and collaboration of colleagues in many nations and territories across the globe.</p> <p>“Hundreds of scientists, researchers, and conservationists captured and analysed more than 15,000 hours of video from surveys of 371 reefs in 58 countries, states and territories around the world over four years.</p> <p>“We hope these findings will help countries continue to maintain shark populations or make management changes to improve their status,” she said.</p> <p>Funded by the <a href="https://pgafamilyfoundation.org/">Paul G. Allen Family Foundation</a>, the Global FinPrint’s survey data were generated from <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/docs/research/monitoring/seabed/video-monitoring.html">baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS)</a> consisting of an underwater video camera attached to a bait bag containing a small amount of fish. Coral reef ecosystems were surveyed with BRUVS in four key geographic regions: The Indo-Pacific, Pacific, the Western Atlantic and the Western Indian Ocean.</p> <p>As well as AIMS, other coordinating organisations working on the project came from Florida International University, Curtin University, Dalhousie University, and James Cook University.</p> <p>For more information and a new global interactive data-visualized map of the Global FinPrint survey results, visit <a href="https://globalfinprint.org">https://globalfinprint.org</a>.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-07/Media%20release%20-Reef%20sharks%20decline_Global%20FinPrint_July2020.pdf">Download | 163KB</a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Media contacts</strong></p> <p>Dr Mark Meekan: <a href="m.meekan@aims.gov.au">m.meekan@aims.gov.au</a>, +61 429 101 812 (time zone is UTC +8)</p> <p>John Liston, AIMS Public Affairs: <a href="media@aims.gov.au">media@aims.gov.au</a>, +61 407 102 684 (time zone is UTC +8)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/2" hreflang="en">Latest releases</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>Media Release</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-featured-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Featured image</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/5126/edit" hreflang="en">GlobalFinPrint_Grey reefs sharks</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-07/6._global_finprint_2020_grey_reef_sharks_multiple_800px.jpg" width="800" height="450" alt="4 greey sharks swim around pole and bait bag" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Wed, 22 Jul 2020 19:54:09 +0000 kate 3728 at https://www.aims.gov.au Genome research brings identification of heat-resilient corals a step closer https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/genome-research-brings-identification-heat-resilient-corals-step-closer <h1 class="au-header-heading">Genome research brings identification of heat-resilient corals a step closer</h1> <span><span lang="" about="/user/5" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kate</span></span> <span>Fri, 2020-07-17 13:07</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>New research has taken scientists closer to being able to identify corals that are less likely to bleach. The scientists hope this knowledge will be used to target protection of resilient corals and facilitate research into adaptation measures such as selective breeding.</p> <p>Climate change is recognised as the most significant threat to coral reefs worldwide. Mass coral bleaching occurs when water temperatures exceed long term temperature maxima usually over the summer. If temperatures are extreme or remain high for a prolonged period, many bleached corals will die.</p> <p>While stabilisation of ocean temperatures is required for the long-term survival of coral reefs, enhanced existing management and new approaches may benefit reef ecosystems in a warming future.</p> <p>Columbia University population geneticists Dr Zachary Fuller and Prof Molly Przeworski, coral biologist <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/our-people/dr-line-bay">Dr Line Bay from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)</a> and University of Texas Prof Mikhail Matz <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6501/eaba4674">recently published a study in <em>Science</em></a> which lays the groundwork for developing a genomic predictor of coral bleaching. It is the world’s largest coral genome study to date.</p> <p>“Coral species are under pressure to adapt to increasing temperatures across the globe,” Dr Bay said.</p> <p>“Fortunately, we see signs that some colonies and species are more heat tolerant than others. Corals with the right genes for tolerance are key to adaptation and also gold for coral reef managers.”</p> <p>This research could be used to identify the corals most likely to resist bleaching on reefs.</p> <p>“Knowing which corals are more likely to be resilient to bleaching could inform reef protection strategies as well as provide potential stock for selective breeding programs suggested to accelerate the spread of naturally tolerant corals among reefs,” Dr Bay said.</p> <p>To identify the genetic markers that underpin bleaching tolerance, the researchers sequenced the genomes of 237 colonies of the coral species <em>Acropora millepora</em>, collected at 12 reefs on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef during the mass bleaching event of 2017. They then tested for associations of genetic variants with the bleaching level observed.</p> <p>“Genomics allows us to examine the genetic differences that may influence differences in bleaching tolerance. What we didn’t know was how many genetic differences influenced this trait and how large their effects were,” said Professor Przeworski.</p> <p>While the group identified specific genes that supported coral heat resilience, the level of bleaching was also explained by complex interactions among many genes, as well as by effects from their algal symbionts and the environment.</p> <p>Dr Fuller said the researchers found no single gene that had a large influence on bleaching response on its own, rather it was the combined small effects of many genetic differences.</p> <p>“We can use these genetic differences together, along with taking into account the effects of the symbiont and environment, to predict which corals might be tolerant to bleaching,” he said.</p> <p>The paper, <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6501/eaba4674">‘Towards a genomic predictor of bleaching in the coral <em>Acropora millepora</em>’</a>, was published in Science on July 17.</p> <p>The research was funded by AIMS, the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program's Tropical Water Quality Hub, the Agouron Institute and Columbia University.</p> <p><a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-07/MR-AIMS%20genomic%20predictor%20research_17July2020_1.pdf">PDF | 226KB</a></p> <p><strong>Media contact</strong></p> <p>Kate Green - Senior Communication Officer<br /> <a href="mailto:k.green@aims.gov.au">k.green@aims.gov.au</a><br /> <span><span>0419 741 724</span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-news-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Categories</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/2" hreflang="en">Latest releases</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-release-type field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="position-above">Media Release Type</div> <ul class="au-tags"> <li>Media Release</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-featured-image field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Featured image</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/media/5119/edit" hreflang="en">Diver with bleached coral_EGM_5604</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><article> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-07/egm_5604_credit_aims-ericmatson_800px.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="Diver measures bleached coral" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </article> </div> Fri, 17 Jul 2020 03:07:49 +0000 kate 3725 at https://www.aims.gov.au