Water Quality Synthesis
MTSRF synthesis products were published and made available during the second half of 2010.
A key deliverable of the MTSRF Research Programme this a suite of 'synthesis' products that have been developed to ensure MTSRF-generated information is presented to research users and key stakeholders clearly and concisely, and that the information is timely, useful and accessible.
Synthesis reports and other documents were peer-reviewed before being published by the Reef & Rainforest Research Centre.
Synthesis products included:
- Briefing note-style, plain English summaries of MTSRF research results in a highly topical subject area, which highlight implications for management/policy/practice and are aimed at identified research users;
- Highly technical and complex science synthesis of MTSRF-related advances in a topical field, published as part of the MTSRF Research Report Series or as a review-style paper in an open-access peer-reviewed academic journal;
- 'Synthetic overviews', which put MTSRF-generated research outputs into social, cultural and regulatory context across broad topical issues that cut across several MTSRF themes; and
- A series of maps and explanatory/supporting material that is publicly available via the e-Atlas website, aimed at presenting spatial data in a form that is most accessible to end users.
Where possible, emphasis has been placed on not only local Queensland outcomes of MTSRF-funded research, but also on the potential transferability of new methods or results to other parts of Australia and the region.
Managers of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) require information on the status of reef ecosystems, relationships between pressures and response, and an understanding of the thresholds of GBR species and ecosystems to these pressures. This information can be used to establish guidelines and targets for management that trigger a strategic management response. Knowledge of catchment and instream ecosystems is also necessary for regionally based natural resource managers, and to refine the understanding of relationships between catchment and marine ecosystems. In response to these needs, a key focus area of the Australian Government's Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) has been the development of thresholds of pollutants of concern in freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems. The outcomes of this research are summarised below, starting with an overview of new knowledge of the impacts of degraded water quality, and outlining how this work has been translated into threshold values and, ultimately in some cases, management guidelines for the GBR.
This report provides an overview of the key findings of research conducted through the Australian Government's Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) relevant to water quality monitoring and evaluation in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). It outlines the key constraints to water quality monitoring and evaluation in the GBR, advances in target setting methods and applications, and describes progress of monitoring and evaluation techniques to support the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan and Reef Rescue performance assessment in terms of indicator development and implementation. Information is also drawn from the Catchment to Reef Joint Research Program, funded as part of the CRC Reef Research Centre and the Rainforest CRC as precursors to the MTSRF, from 2002 to 2005, which aimed to develop appropriate monitoring methods for water quality and ecosystem health in aquatic ecosystems in the Wet Tropics and GBR World Heritage Area. Its goal was to provide a sound scientific basis for the development of monitoring tools, protocols and guidelines appropriate to the Wet Tropics. Many of the results presented in this report originated from this research, and have been further developed over the last four years through the MTSRF in conjunction with the Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program for water quality and ecosystem health monitoring in the GBR. While the research findings are also applicable elsewhere, particularly in tropical reef ecosystems, many of the more general outcomes have broader applications in environmental monitoring and evaluation programs.
Report Series No. 52 - Devlin, M. and Waterhouse, J. et al. (2010) Improved understanding of biophysical and socio-economic connections between catchment and reef ecosystems: Wet and Dry Tropics case studies
This report provides an overview of the key findings of research conducted through the MTSRF designed to improve our understanding of the linkages between catchment and reef processes, and how the quality of water from paddock, sub-catchment, catchment and marine systems can directly and indirectly influence the ecological functioning of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The research aimed to inform and facilitate management action and remediation to reduce, restore and increase resilience of the inshore GBR ecosystems. The research findings are also applicable elsewhere, particularly in tropical ecosystems, but many outcomes can be translated for broader application in catchment and marine ecosystem management. Over the past thirty years an increasing amount of research and monitoring effort has been devoted to documenting and understanding the nature and importance of water quality issues for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Attention has become focused on land-based runoff as a primary source of pollutants into the GBR. This report reviews, synthesises and analyses the work carried out over the course of the four-year MTSRF program in relation to our current understanding of the relationships between catchment processes, pollutant loads delivered to instream environments (including wetlands and estuaries) and the marine environment, and the impacts on instream environments and the near shore environment.
Report Series No. 53 - Part I: Wallace, J., Hawdon, A., Keen, R., Karim, F., Stewart, L. and Kemei, J. (2010) Wetlands and floodplains: connectivity and hydro-ecological function. Part I - The role of overbank floods in transporting sediments and nutrients to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon
Part II: Karim, F., Wallace, J., Kinsey-Henderson, A., Hawdon, A., Keen, R., Arthington, A. H., Godfrey, P. and Pearson, R. G. (2010) Wetlands and floodplains: connectivity and hydro-ecological function. Part II - Quantification of overbank and channelised wetland connectivity in the Tully-Murray floodplain
Report Series No. 54 - Johnson, J. E., Brando, V. E., Devlin, M. J., McKenzie, L., Morris, S., Schaffelke, B., Thompson, A., Waterhouse, J. and Waycott, M. (2011) Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program: 2009/2010 Synthesis Report
This report provides a synthesis of MTSRF-funded research relevant to defining priority pollutants for management of water quality in the GBR, and identifying areas for management intervention. The report contains an overview of the identification of priority pollutants, methods for calculating pollutant loads and current pollutant load estimates. Regional results of an assessment of the relative contribution of different sub-catchments and land uses to overall regional pollutant loads are presented. A relative risk assessment of regions and land uses from a water quality perspective is summarised, and the outcomes of a recent study on the exposure of plume waters in the GBR are included. Management implications, data limitations and future research directions are also described.
Report Series No. 60 - Johnson, J. and Martin, K. (2011) Water quality and climate change: Managing for resilience
This report provides a synthesis of the key findings of research conducted under the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) relevant to understanding interactions between water quality and climate change, and how best to manage for resilience. The report summarises the findings of projects supported by the MTSRF. Some of the information in this report is extracted from these project reports with the permission of the authors.
This report provides an overview of the key findings of research conducted under the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) relevant to management of water quality in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The MTSRF research theme Halting and Reversing the Decline in Water Quality (Program 7) was comprised of five major projects undertaken collaboratively by researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), James Cook University (JCU), the Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research (at JCU), the CSIRO and Griffith University.
Report Series No. 64 - Devlin, M. and Lewis, S. (2011) Advancing our understanding of the source, transport and impacts of pesticides on the Great Barrier Reef and in associated ecosystems: A review of MTSRF Research Outputs, 2006-2010
This report provides an overview of the key findings of research conducted under the Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) relevant to pesticide sources, transport and impacts in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The MTSRF research theme Halting and Reversing the Decline in Water Quality (Program 7) was comprised of five major projects undertaken collaboratively by researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), James Cook University (JCU), the Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research (at JCU), the CSIRO and Griffith University.