Damien Burrows

Welcome to the third International Year of the Reef (#IYOR2018). It is no exaggeration to say that the eyes of the world are turned not just to the Great Barrier Reef but also to Australia’s scientific community and its contribution to management of this World Heritage asset.

As the global effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions and combat the causes of climate change continue – which is imperative – there is obvious and increasing need to develop the science base that will underpin the increasingly adaptive management that will be necessary to maintain resilience and functionality of the Great Barrier Reef’s linked ecosystems.

We and our research partners are taking up the challenge. The coordinated suite of new projects announced through NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ)’s Research Plan v4 (RPv4) represent a deliberate pivot towards filling scientific gaps in what we need to know to promote survival, recovery and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef in the face of major disruptions such as climate change.

Simultaneously the regional drivers of health impacts on the reef must continue to be addressed, and Hub researchers and stakeholders continue to work closely together to address resilience-affecting issues such as high sediment and nitrogen levels in runoff from coastal catchments. Close relationships with farmers and industry are critical to achieving these outcomes, and engagement frameworks and trust being built through efforts like Project 25 are proving to be key to the success of these projects. This capacity for sustained, meaningful two-way engagement between researchers and stakeholders is a strength of our Hub and I am proud of it.

The TWQ Hub held a Science Day in Townsville on November 30 2017, showcasing some of our most exciting projects to scientists and stakeholders from across the region. Many of these presentations as well as interviews with project leaders can be viewed on YouTube via the links in the article.


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