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Search Result: 7 records

1 . Australia     Australia
Australia is an island continent with an extensive tropical coastline. Its western shores mark the southeastern margins of the Indian Ocean while, to the east, it provides the southwestern boundary of the Pacific Ocean. Between these two is a complex, poorly known, northern coastline which runs close to southern Indonesia, separated by the Timor Sea to the west and the Arafura Sea to the east.

After Indonesia, Australia has the largest area of coral reefs of any nation, nearly 50 000 square kilometers, or some 19 percent of the world’s total area of reefs. Conditions for reef development vary considerably along the coastline. In the far west the climate is dry and there is little terrestrial runoff. Reef development is not continuous, though away from loose coastal sediments there are important areas, including Australia’s best developed fringing reefs. The southward flowing Leeuwin Current is also important on this coastline, bringing warm waters to relatively high latitudes and enabling the development of some unique reef communities. Further north there are several reefs on the outer edges of the continental shelf. These include remnants of what may have been a substantial barrier reef structure drowned as a result of rising sea levels over geological time scales. The northern coastline is less known, however this is an area of high terrestrial runoff, and the waters are shallow and turbid, greatly restricting reef development. The eastern boundary of the Arafura Sea is marked by a narrow constriction, the Torres Strait. East of here, the world’s largest coral reef complex commences, extending out to the margins on the continental shelf and continuing southwards as the Great Barrier Reef. The warm, southward flowing East Australia Current also supports the development of high latitude reefs along Australia’s eastern shores to the south of the Great Barrier Reef. Other reefs are found in Australia’s offshore waters. Most notable among these are the extensive reef structures of the Coral Sea, east of the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia also administers the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, both of which have significant coral reefs.

Australia’s original human population, the Australian Aborigines, are thought to have inhabited the country for more than 40 000 years. These people, and the Torres Strait Islanders who occupy parts of the far northeast of the country, have traditionally made considerable use of reef resources. It seems likely, however, that their overall impacts remained minimal. Population densities were low, and a large area of offshore reef remained inaccessible to them.

The continent was first described by European travellers in the 17th century. Dampier visited parts of the northwestern coast in 1688 and 1699. Captain James Cook was the first to navigate the waters of the Great Barrier Reef, and indeed ran aground there in 1770. The first British settlement was established in Australia in 1788.

The Aboriginal population has decreased considerably since European occupation, while many of those who remain have been dispossessed of their traditional lands and have ceased to practice their traditional lifestyles. A few remaining coastal populations still have considerable rights regarding their traditional use of the reefs, but their numbers are so low that they are unlikely to have any significant impact except, perhaps, in parts of the Torres Strait region. The dominant human impacts can now be related to fisheries and terrestrial runoff from deforestation, overgrazing and certain agricultural practices. Compared with most countries, however, these impacts remain few. Population densities are low in all coral reef areas, while the location of many reefs at some distance from the shore further protects them from human impacts.

Considerable resources have been put into coral reef research in Australia and, despite the vast area of reefs in the country, there is a good deal of information describing their distribution and biodiversity. Equally importantly, the great majority of Australia’s reefs fall within protected areas. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is the largest protected reef in the world, and is well managed with a detailed zoning plan, providing areas of strict protection alongside much larger areas of multiple use.
Source: Spalding, M.D., C. Ravilious and E.P. Green , 2001 , World Atlas of Coral Reefs . Prepared at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. University of California Press,Berkeley,USA.421p. (See Document)

2 . Australia     Australia
Coral Sea Reefs and Islands:



These reefs grow around oceanic islands and seamounts scattered across 780 000km2 of ocean east of the GBR. Some remote reefs are visited by tourism operators (for example, Osprey Reef, Flinders Reef) but most are rarely visited. There are several MPAs on Coral Sea islands and reefs, including the Coringa-Herald, Lihou Reef, Elizabeth and Middleton Reef reserves, and Lord Howe Island. The Elizabeth and Middleton reefs and Lord Howe Island are the most southerly coral reefs in the world and are strongly influenced by the south flowing East Australian Current. There has been limited research and monitoring apart from occasional surveys by AIMS and JCU for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA). Climate change is probably the main pressure on these reefs.
Source: Chin, A., H. Sweatman, S. Forbes, H. Perks, R. Walker, G. Jones, D. Williamson, R. Evans, F. Hartley,S. Armstrong, H. Malcolm, G. Edgar , 2008 , Status of the Coral Reefs in Australia and Papua New Guinea: 2008 . In: Wilkinson, C. (ed.). Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Center, Townsville, Australia. p159-176 (See Document)

3 . Australia     Australia
Osprey Reefis an oceanic seamount 340 km NNE from Cairns and 180 km off the coast. This reef is frequently visited by divers from Cairns and Port Douglas and has been monitored by Reef Check Australia volunteers since 2002. Hard coral was damaged by coral bleaching in 2002 but appears to have recovered. Coral cover remains at about 40% at two sites with one site showing a slight decrease since 2004. An unofficial agreement has been reached between fishers and the tourism industry to protect high value tourism sites from fishing impacts. Further information on Osprey Reef from Reef Check Australia:
- www.reefcheckaustralia.org/
Source: Chin, A., H. Sweatman, S. Forbes, H. Perks, R. Walker, G. Jones, D. Williamson, R. Evans, F. Hartley,S. Armstrong, H. Malcolm, G. Edgar , 2008 , Status of the Coral Reefs in Australia and Papua New Guinea: 2008 . In: Wilkinson, C. (ed.). Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Center, Townsville, Australia. p159-176 (See Document)

4 . Australia     Australia
The Coringa-Herald Nature Reserve is 400 km directly east of Cairns and covers 8856 km2 including 6 islets and cays with a total area of 124 ha. AIMS surveys showed low coral cover compared to the GBR, with 4.5% cover recorded in 2003 and 7.3% in 2006-2007. There is evidence of significant coral mortality following coral bleaching in 2002 and physical damage from storms. Recovery appears to be slow and is probably dependent on self-seeding, making these reefs vulnerable to localised extinctions. The fish assemblages are very different to the GBR and indicate that these reefs may be ‘stepping stones’ between the GBR and the South Pacific. Some holothurians (sea cucumbers) of high commercial value were found to be more abundant within the reserve compared with other sites, suggesting some benefit of the reserve for these species. In 2005 beneficial insects were released at Coringa-Herald to minimise damage to the Pisonia forest from pest insects.
Source: Chin, A., H. Sweatman, S. Forbes, H. Perks, R. Walker, G. Jones, D. Williamson, R. Evans, F. Hartley,S. Armstrong, H. Malcolm, G. Edgar , 2008 , Status of the Coral Reefs in Australia and Papua New Guinea: 2008 . In: Wilkinson, C. (ed.). Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Center, Townsville, Australia. p159-176 (See Document)

5 . Australia     Australia
The Lihou Reef Nature Reserve is 700 km due east of Cairns and includes 18 coral cays covering 91 ha dotted around Lihou Reef, a U-shaped line of reefs facing west-south-west and enclosing a lagoon. No new surveys have been conducted at Lihou Reef since the previous Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2004, when coral cover in 1984 and 2004 was low (<10%) with many corals bleaching due to elevated sea surface temperatures at the time of the 2004 survey. There was also evidence of bleaching from the 2002 bleaching event.
Source: Chin, A., H. Sweatman, S. Forbes, H. Perks, R. Walker, G. Jones, D. Williamson, R. Evans, F. Hartley,S. Armstrong, H. Malcolm, G. Edgar , 2008 , Status of the Coral Reefs in Australia and Papua New Guinea: 2008 . In: Wilkinson, C. (ed.). Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Center, Townsville, Australia. p159-176 (See Document)

6 . Australia     Australia
The Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Reserve covers 1880 km2 and the reefs are part of the Lord Howe volcanic chain. Surveys in February 2006 found that coral cover was similar to 2003 levels: 25% at Elizabeth Reef; and 11% at Middleton Reef. There was no evidence of recent bleaching or Drupella activity and only limited evidence of COTS. Surveys of fishes have recorded 324 species with two additional goby species identified in 2007. Genetic studies on the Galapagos sharks suggest that the Elizabeth and Middleton Reef population forms a single stock that is distinct from the Lord Howe Island population. In 2006 the Australian Government introduced a 7 year management plan for the reserve and has since increased compliance and enforcement patrols.
Source: Chin, A., H. Sweatman, S. Forbes, H. Perks, R. Walker, G. Jones, D. Williamson, R. Evans, F. Hartley,S. Armstrong, H. Malcolm, G. Edgar , 2008 , Status of the Coral Reefs in Australia and Papua New Guinea: 2008 . In: Wilkinson, C. (ed.). Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Center, Townsville, Australia. p159-176 (See Document)

7 . Australia     Australia
The coral reefs of the north and east coast of Papua New Guinea (PNG) lie within the ‘coral triangle’ that includes eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands. The coral triangle is a global centre of marine biodiversity and has very high conservation value. Many reefs in PNG are close to shore and sensitive to terrestrial influences. Research and monitoring capacity in PNG is relatively low with most programs run by NGOs; such that there are few long term datasets for PNG reefs. There are also few MPAs in PNG and awareness and support for marine resource management is mostly limited to areas where NGOs have active programs such as in Kimbe Bay, Kavieng, Manus and Madang. A system of customary tenure (‘tambu’) for fringing reefs and inshore fishing resources exists in many coastal communities. Temporary closing of a reef is a historical practice that is now declining. Most reefs in PNG are in relatively good condition, although some reefs are under pressure from: sedimentation arising from poor management of mining, land clearing, oil-palm plantations and logging; over-fishing, including top predators such as sharks and invertebrates such as sea cucumbers (bêche-de-mer); the live fish trade; COTS outbreaks; and coral bleaching.
Source: Chin, A., H. Sweatman, S. Forbes, H. Perks, R. Walker, G. Jones, D. Williamson, R. Evans, F. Hartley,S. Armstrong, H. Malcolm, G. Edgar , 2008 , Status of the Coral Reefs in Australia and Papua New Guinea: 2008 . In: Wilkinson, C. (ed.). Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Center, Townsville, Australia. p159-176 (See Document)

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