4th November 2020

Release by CoralCoE at JCU

Crown-of-thorns eat themselves out of house & home

AA world-first study on the Great Barrier Reef shows crown-of-thorns starfish have the ability to find their own way home – a behaviour previously undocumented – but only if their neighbourhood is stocked with their favourite food: corals.

Australian researchers observed the starfish emerging from their shelters in the afternoons so they could feed on coral during the night before returning home at dawn. Read more

27th September 2020

Release by RRRC

Flagship Cairns trial provides solution to reduce nitrate run-off onto Great Barrier Reef by 15 per cent-plus

A unique pilot project in North Queensland encouraging farmers and marine scientists to cooperate and work more closely together to protect the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef is yielding major dividends and practical solutions.

The Project 25 initiative, funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program through the Cairns-based Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC), aims to significantly reduce the amount of damaging nitrogen fertiliser running off sugarcane farms into the creeks and rivers that flow into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Read more

27th September 2020

Joint Release by The Hon Sussan Ley MP, The Hon Warren Entsch MP & Senator Susan Mcdonald

Sweet victory for sugarcane growers

A unique pilot project involving more than 100 canegrowers in North Queensland has delivered a solution to reduce the amount of nitrates that end up in the Great Barrier Reef by at least 15 per cent.

The successful trial funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP) saw scientists and canegrowers working together across the Russell and Mulgrave river catchments south of Cairns to install hi-tech telemetry and water quality sensors close to their properties. Read more

24th September 2020

Release by CSIRO

Scientists map the potential for natural forest regrowth to capture carbon, in world-first study

A major new study that maps potential aboveground carbon accumulation rates for forest regrowth across the globe has been published in the journal Nature.

Researchers from Australia’s national science agency CSIRO joined scientists from 17 other countries to publish a first of its kind, ‘wall-to-wall’ global, 1km resolution map that highlights areas with the greatest carbon returns, when they are allowed to reforest naturally. Read more

29th July 2020

Release by UTAS

Need for prediction of marine heatwaves

An IMAS-led international research team has highlighted the need for the development of systems to predict marine heatwaves, which are a growing threat to marine ecosystems and industries as the climate changes.

Unlike terrestrial heatwaves and other extreme weather events such as cyclones, knowledge of marine heatwaves and their causes is relatively crude so we don’t yet have tools to predict when they will occur and what their impacts will be. Read more

17th July 2020

Release by AIMS

Genome research brings identification of heat-resilient corals a step closer

New research has taken scientists closer to being able to identify corals that are less likely to bleach. The scientists hope this knowledge will be used to target protection of resilient corals and facilitate research into adaptation measures such as selective breeding.

Climate change is recognised as the most significant threat to coral reefs worldwide. Mass coral bleaching occurs when water temperatures exceed long term temperature maxima usually over the summer. If temperatures are extreme or remain high for a prolonged period, many bleached corals will die. Read more

18th May 2020

Release by AIMS

Fish faeces reveals which species eat crown-of-thorns

Great Barrier Reef research finds the destructive starfish is eaten more often than thought.

Crown-of-thorns starfish are on the menu for many more fish species than previously suspected, an investigation using fish poo and gut goo reveals.

The finding suggests that some fish, including popular eating and aquarium species, might have a role to play in keeping the destructive pest population under control. Read more

7th May 2020

Release by RRRC

Trust and technology: Tracking down sources of nitrate in the Great Barrier Reef catchment

The close trust frameworks built between farmers and scientists have enabled a large sugarcane farmer in Far North Queensland to track down a source of nitrogen entering the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Barry Stubbs, a second-generation sugar grower operating near Miriwinni, just south of Cairns, is a participant in ‘Project 25’, an innovative water quality monitoring program developed under the Tropical Water Quality Hub of the National Environmental Science Program, which is funded by the Australian Government. Read more

30th March 2020

Release by RRRC

Fight on to save coastal ecosystems

A James Cook University scientist says centuries of damage will have to be undone if a UN push to save crucial coastal ecosystems is to succeed.

Dr Nathan Waltham from JCU, funded through the Australian Government National Environmental Science Program’s Tropical Water Quality Hub, led a group of 18 eminent coastal scientists from eight countries that warned of the challenges facing coastal restoration and how they can be overcome. Read more

26th March 2020

Release by RRRC & AIMS

Unknown risk from contaminants flying under the radar on Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait

Scientists have identified critical knowledge gaps for a number of contaminants entering into the waters of Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.

These contaminants originate from a wide range of sources from the land and on the water, including urban, industrial and shipping activities. Read more

20th January 2020

Release by RRRC

NESP TWQ Hub enables GBR Traditional Owners to learn reef leadership and restoration techniques

Traditional Owner (TO) groups operating on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) will be better equipped to care for their sea country after attending a reef restoration workshop on Orpheus Island (Goolboddi), north of Townsville. Read more

10th July 2019

Release by RRRC

New paper shows nutrients play vital roles in coral bleaching

Controlling nutrient availability could be critical to increasing corals’ ability to resist and recover from bleaching, according to a new study produced as part of Project 3.3.1 under the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program Tropical Water Quality Hub. Read more

1st July 2019

Release by RRRC

Indigenous rangers trained in managing mangroves on their country

Healthy mangrove forests play a vital role to maintaining the quality of water flowing out to the Great Barrier Reef, and Traditional Owners have a strong interest in helping monitor and manage their land and sea country. Read more

17th June 2019

Release by RRRC

RRRC partners with local tour company to show reef recovery to decision-makers

Decision-makers involved in the Australian government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP) saw the recovery of corals on the Great Barrier Reef first-hand last week courtesy of a local tourism operator. Read more

7th March 2019

Release by RRRC

Stings from venomous box jellyfish common in tropical waters are highly painful and can be fatal

The ability to predict when higher concentrations of jellyfish – known as ‘smacks’ – appear is an attractive prospect to scientists, surf lifesavers and tourism operators alike. Read more

6th November 2018

Release by RRRC

Nitrogen forum brings water quality scientists and cane farmers together

In a step forward for Great Barrier Reef water quality, scientists and Far North Queensland cane growers will come together to discuss the latest innovations in nitrogen-based fertilizer management to protect both Great Barrier Reef and the sustainability of the sugar cane industry. Read more

31st August 2018

Release by JCU

Pigs shut out of critical Queensland wetlands

James Cook University researchers are assessing how much conservation value can be gained from a simple fence. Read more

26th March 2018

Release by RRRC

Water quality researchers track flood plumes from rain events

High water levels in northern Queensland’s Wet Tropics region are subsiding after high rainfall in mid-March but the flood event may still have major impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. Read more

22nd January 2018

Release by RRRC

DNA detection helps defend Great Barrier Reef from coral-eating starfish

Exciting genetic detection technology under development by the National Environmental Science Program (NESP)’s Tropical Water Quality Hub is one of several ways in which NESP is using novel scientific techniques and developing new strategies for controlling outbreaks of Crown of Thorns Starfish. Read more

6th February 2017

Release by RRRC

Keeping an eye on Big Wet runoff

Every year, major rainfalls in Far North Queensland turn the Barron River and other major watercourses a bright shade of ochre as they pick up mud and silt on their way to the ocean – but this year, scientists and farmers are keeping a closer eye on the sediment-filled waters and their effects on the Great Barrier Reef. Read more

26th September 2016

Release by RRRC

New fertilizers to protect reef and farm profitability

Scientists in Far North Queensland are trialling new fertilizers that could reduce levels of run-off containing high levels of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), a major health threat to the Great Barrier Reef that has been linked to coral bleaching and Crown of Thorns Starfish outbreaks. Read more

23rd May 2016

Release by RRRC

Harnessing the market to reduce coastal run-off

An experiment under the NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub has indicated that a nitrogen trading scheme could be effective in reducing agricultural runoff impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. Read more

24th April 2016

Release by RRRC

Diverse steering committee helps TWQ Hub

The Tropical Water Quality Hub’s diverse steering committee gives it a unique advantage.

The quality of Australia’s tropical marine environments is critical to the health of natural icons like the Great Barrier Reef and by extension the wide range of industries that depend on it. Read more

4th March 2016

Release by RRRC

Research on Early Warning System for Irukandji

Scientists and managers will be better equipped to understand and predict swarms of potentially deadly ‘irukandji’ jellyfish in Far North Queensland waters thanks to government supported research. Read more

3rd March 2016

Release by The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

Government provides $4.8m to tackle gully erosion in Great Barrier Reef catchments

The Australian Government is providing $4.86m for five organisations to work with landholders to address the vast issue of gully erosion in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

These gullies are located in some of the highest risk areas of sediment erosion for the Great Barrier Reef. Read more

29th February 2016

Release by RRRC

Tropical Water Quality Hub to help keep Reef clear of plastic rubbish

A Far North Queensland based environmental research hub will lend a hand in reducing the amount of plastic rubbish choking the Great Barrier Reef.

Australians dump more than 14,000 tons of plastic waste into the ocean every year this
results in up to six pieces of plastic rubbish settling on every metre of Australian coastline. Read more

22nd September 2015

Joint release by The Hon. Greg Hunt MP and The Hon. Warren Entsch MP

Improving water quality in the Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s iconic and precious Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding tropical waters will benefit from 24 innovative research projects conducted by this Government’s Tropical Water Quality Hub.

This scientific investment being launched today supports practical policy and programmes to improve the Great Barrier Reef under the Government’s $140 million Reef Trust. Read more