Role of ReefTemp in managing the Great Barrier Reef


The Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009 identified climate change as one of the greatest threats to the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef. It is a priority for marine park managers to understand the risks and work with partners to build the resilience of the Reef and the industries and communities that depend on it.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has been implementing its Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Action Plan since 2007. Under the Action Plan, a Reef Health Incident Response System is in place to help the GBRMPA detect any reef health incidents such as coral bleaching events or disease outbreaks. It also provides important information to guide management actions following incidents.

A range of environmental conditions can lead to coral bleaching, disease and damage, however it is well established that higher-than-normal sea temperatures are the primary cause of bleaching. ReefTemp plays a crucial role in the Reef Health Incident Response System by providing the GBRMPA with an early warning of excessive and persistent higher-than-normal sea surface temperature conditions, which indicate sea temperatures are approaching levels that are known to be stressful to corals.

When responding to reef health events, the GBRMPA, partner agencies, researchers, and tourism operators can use this tool to focus research and monitoring efforts, increase the efficiency of impact assessment programmes, and heighten awareness within the community.

For more information please visit the GBRMPA website.