Palaszczuk Govt Undertakes Research On Great Barrier Reef

Palaszczuk Govt Undertakes Research On Great Barrier Reef

Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles

Coral Research Underpins Queensland Government Efforts To Protect The Reef

Victor P Taffa

Studies of ancient corals dating back thousands of years have provided stark confirmation that human activity since European settlement has affected the Great Barrier Reef.


But the research by a number of Queensland academics has also confirmed that efforts to reduce sediment runoff and improve water quality are an effective way of building the reef’s resilience for the future.

Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Dr. Steven Miles said today (Tuesday) coral and reef cores taken from locations along the Great Barrier Reef had been dated and analysed by researchers from a number of organisations, including The University of Queensland (UQ).

“The research has found clear evidence of a significant change in coral community composition since European settlement in the 1800’s, as well as frequent links between the timing of previous coral mortality incidents and sediment run-off events.” Dr. Miles said.

“There was also evidence linking coral deaths to past anomalies in sea surface temperatures over the past century, with data suggesting there has been an increase in mortality from the mid-1990’s to the present.”

“While summer’s bleaching event has thankfully ended, scientists say more than 90 % of the reef was affected.” Dr. Miles said.

“I understand the preliminary results on this research, which are yet to be published, are showing there are signs of corals recovering faster in areas with better water quality, compared with areas of poorer water quality.”

“Studies of coral reef condition over 30 years by the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s long-term monitoring programs have shown that when water quality is good coral reefs recover well from acute disturbance events such as cyclones, storms and floods.”

“These results directly support the work being done by the Queensland Government to improve reef water quality, address climate change and improve the reef’s resilience and ability to recover from higher sea temperatures and coral bleaching.” Dr. Miles said.

Professor Gregg Webb of UQ’s School of Earth Sciences said the coral cores provide important insights into historical coral growth rates and climate impacts.

“The historical perspectives on water quality and community structure gained from geochemical and ecological analysis of dated corals in cores helps distinguish natural from human induced changes in coral reef systems.” Professor Webb said.

“This can define shifting baselines and ongoing trends that may help identify tolerances and tipping points to better target attempts at restoration.”

“We are pleased our research can support the already substantial commitment to reef research by the Queensland Government.” Professor Webb said.

QLD Minister for Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles

QLD Minister for Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles









The Palaszczuk Government has committed $100 Million over five years to protect the reef, and increased surveillance of reef areas affected by coral bleaching.

The State Budget also delivered an additional $6.8 Million over four years to lead the development of the government’s climate change strategies.

“The Palaszczuk Government has made a number of commitments to revitalise the climate change agenda and build a cleaner, more sustainable and prosperous state.” Dr. Miles said.

“At last Friday’s Climate Action Roundtable in Canberra, we agreed to work together with other jurisdictions to deliver low-carbon social and economic benefits, while helping to deliver effective climate action.”

“In fact, the next roundtable will be held here in Queensland within the next six months.”

Dr. Miles said the deadline for public feedback on the Queensland Government’s climate change discussion paper, Advancing Climate Action in Queensland: Making the transition to a low carbon future, had been extended until midnight Friday, September 2.