Project Leader and Host
Professor Terry Hughes, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef
James Cook University
Project Description and Objectives
For detailed descriptions of the outputs for
this project for Year 4 (2009/2010) of the MTSRF Research
Programme, see the Annual Research
Understanding the scale of larval dispersal is a
major challenge in marine ecology and it is clear that management
of marine fishes, including by marine protected areas (MPAs), must
incorporate the scales over which their populations are connected
by larval dispersal. MPAs ('green zones') in the Great Barrier Reef
promote the abundance, size and reproductive potential of exploited
fishes within their boundaries, but an important question remains
unanswered - do green zones provide a recruitment subsidy to
exploited fish populations such as coral trout beyond their
boundaries (blue zones), thereby promoting the resilience and
sustainable exploitation of fish resources?
This project will provide answers to the following
questions critical to the assessment of the effectiveness of the
Great Barrier Reef Zoning model:
What is the spatial scale of connectivity by larval fish
dispersal within the Great Barrier Reef?
How much do green zones contribute to the recruitment of coral
trout and other fish species in blue zones (via larval
To what extent are populations in green zones sustained by their
own reproduction (via larval retention)?
Are particular areas especially important sources of larvae for
Are particular areas sustained by retention or by dispersal?
Key objectives of Project 4.8.1 include: