Report on surveys of the Innisfail sector of the Great Barrier Reef
- Some reefs in this sector remain to be surveyed in this reporting year
Figure 1: Map showing location of reefs in the Innisfail sector. Click on figure to go to AIMS Spatial Maps for information on individual reefs.
Table 1: Overview of results obtained from manta tow surveys of reefs in the Innisfail sector
|Innisfail Sector||Summary||Trend since last survey|
|Median Coral Cover||Low (0-10%)||Decreased|
|COTS status:||No Outbreaks||Decreased|
As part of the Long Term Monitoring Program (LTMP), surveys of coral cover and abundance of the coral feeding crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), Acanthaster solaris* were completed using the manta tow technique on two reefs in the Innisfail sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Preliminary results of the manta tow surveys are presented in Table 1. These show that in both cases median reef-wide live coral cover had fallen to very low values (0-5%). The decrease at Moore Reef was likely due to the 2017 bleaching event whereas at McCulloch reef the decrease was likely due to both bleaching in 2017 and COTS activity in recent years. No COTS were observed during manta tow surveys.
Details of the manta tow method can be found in the Standard Operational Procedure No. 9 [AIMS Research - Crown-of-thorns Starfish and Coral Surveys - Standard Operational Procedure 9]. Further details of the monitoring program design, sampling methods and a full explanation of the A. solaris outbreak terminology can be found on the AIMS website.
*Note: genetic studies show that there are at least four species of COTS. These are the North and South Indian Ocean species (A. planci and A. mauritiensis). a Red Sea species (not yet named) and a Pacific species. The range of the Pacific includes the Great Barrier Reef and it has been provisionally named Acanthaster solaris (Haszprunar et. al. 2017).
Table 2: Summary of manta tow surveys of reefs in the Innisfail sector. Arrows indicate the trend in live coral cover and A. solaris since last survey; = increase, = decrease, “ ” = no change.
|Reef||Shelf Position||Tows||Previous survey year||A. solaris||A. solaris per tow||Median Live Coral Cover||Median Soft Coral Cover||Reef Status|
|MCCULLOCH||Mid||93||2016||0 ↓||0||0-5% ↓||0-5%||RE|
|MOORE||Mid||75||2016||0 ↓||0||0-5% ↓||0-5% ↓||NO|
Dates: 11th - 22nd December 2017
Vessel: RV Cape Ferguson
Survey leader: Alistair Cheal
Details of the manta tow method and results can be found here.
Click here for further details of the monitoring program design, sampling methods and a full explanation of the A. solaris outbreak terminology.
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