Identification, impacts, and prioritization of emerging contaminants present in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait marine environments
Led by: Dr Frederieke Kroon, AIMS
Increased human activities in the GBR and Torres Strait regions are expected to increase the sources and diversity of contaminants in their marine environments. Here, we will (i) determine the presence and locations of emerging contaminants based on monitoring data and the types of human activities present, and (ii) prioritize the identified emerging contaminants based on their potential risk to these marine environments. Based on the list of priority emerging contaminants, we will develop and recommend key areas of research to inform management and policy decisions that will maintain and improve the condition of the marine environments in the GBR and Torres Strait regions.
Current policy and management for marine water quality focusses on suspended sediment, nutrients and PSII herbicides. Other contaminants are known to be present in the marine environment, including emerging pesticides, endocrine disrupting chemicals, coal dust, hydrocarbons, metals, microplastics, pharmaceuticals and personal care products. While emerging contaminants are a topic of intensive research internationally, little is known about their sources, role and fate in the GBR and Torres Strait regions. Furthermore, changes in agricultural practices and land uses, increasing coastal development including urban and industrial land uses and ports, and associated projected shipping increases are likely to result in new contaminants being released into their marine ecosystems in the near future.
The project addresses whether risks of emerging contaminants to GBR and Torres Strait marine ecosystems are currently under-estimated.
How Research Addresses Problem
- Targeted desktop studies to identify, assess the risk of, and prioritize emerging contaminants based on monitoring and source data.
- Focused workshop with project team, end users and key stakeholders to (i) examine the risk of emerging contaminants to the GBR and Torres Strait marine environments, and (ii) determine the specific project outputs.
- Recommend key areas of research to inform management and policy decisions that will maintain and improve the condition of the marine environments in the GBR and Torres Strait regions.
Emerging contaminant; Sources; Impact; Fate; Great Barrier Reef.
This project is jointly funded through AIMS, JCU, CQU, DSITIA, GU, UQ, CSIRO and the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme.