Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) of fringing reefs in the Whitsunday Management Area, Great Barrier Reef

Temporal Range: From 02-Aug-1994 To 05-May-1995

Resource Summary

A rapid assessment technique was chosen to survey fringing reefs at 40 locations within the Whitsunday Management Area between August 1994 and May 1995.

At each location, surveys were conducted over two depth ranges; 0-3 m below the reef crest and 4-8 m below the reef crest. Data were recorded while swimming down current from haphazardly chosen starting points using SCUBA. Each survey took between 30-60 minutes and covered distances between 100-600m. The start and end points of each survey were recorded with a portable GPS. At the end of each swim, percentage cover categories were assigned to a set of ecological and substrate attributes. Each reef was also classified in terms of reef development.

A inventory of benthic taxa was compiled during each survey. Taxa were identified in situ. Hard corals were identified to species where possible, otherwise genus and lifeform. Soft corals and conspicuous macroalage were identified to genus. Other taxa (including sponges, zoanthids, ascidians, bryozoans) were identified to a higher taxonomic level, usually to phylum and growth form. At the end of each survey, the inventory was reviewed and each taxon was categorized in terms of its relative abundance in the community.

This research was undertaken to collect ecological information on the fringing reefs within the Whitsunday Management Area to enable an assessment to be made of the conservation values of the coral reefs within the area.

The reefs surveyed were Armit Island, Border Island (2 locations), Champagne Bay, Deloraine Island (2 locations), Dent Island, Double Cone Island (2 locations), Dumbell Island, Eshelby Island (2 locations), Esk Island, Gloucester Island (3 locations), Gumbrell Island, Henning Island, Hideway Bay, Hook Island (2 locations) Little Armit Island, Little Grassy Island, Lupton Island, Middle Island, Olden Island (2 locations), Pelican Island (2 locations), Rattray Island, Teague Island and Whitsunday Island (9 locations).

Resource Usage:

Use of the AIMS data is for not-for-profit applications only. All other users shall seek permission for use by contacting AIMS. Acknowledgements as prescribed must be clearly set out in the user's formal communications or publications.

Cite this Record
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). (2011), Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) of fringing reefs in the Whitsunday Management Area, Great Barrier Reef, https://apps.aims.gov.au/metadata/view/5335dd35-0a9a-453f-a1a9-95677f75bd8b, accessed 06-Apr-2020.