Research to support the management of the Great Barrier Reef and other coastal tropical waters.
About this hub
The Tropical Water Quality Hub ran from 2014-15 to 2020-21. Its research provided innovative research for practical solutions to maintain and improve tropical water quality from catchment to coast.
Tropical Water Quality Hub impacts highlights some of the hub’s impacts across its 6-year research program.
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At a glance
|NESP funding||$31.98 million|
|Host organisation||Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Inc.|
|Hub leader||Professor Damien Burrows|
|Approved projects||Tropical Water Quality Hub Approved Projects|
Indigenous rangers trained in managing mangroves on Country
Healthy mangrove forests play a vital role to maintaining the quality of water flowing out to the Great Barrier Reef. Traditional Owners have a strong interest in helping monitor and manage their Country, both land and sea.
Hub researchers worked with a Traditional Owner ranger group based in Bundaberg, Queensland, who are now equipped with valuable skills and experience in monitoring and managing the health of mangroves in their Country.
Changing behaviour for water quality improvement
Behaviour change for best practice among land managers in the Great Barrier Reef catchment is critical to improving the quality of water flowing out to the reef.
Hub research identified both barriers to and enablers of behaviour change. Identified barriers include assumptions that land managers have the same attitudes toward water quality improvement, and assumptions that profit is the only motivating factor.
Extension officers use this information to encourage land managers to make decisions benefiting water quality outcomes.
Social media data to support decision-making
Hub researchers used big data and artificial intelligence approaches to develop and test methods of analysing thousands of social media posts, with the potential to turn every Great Barrier Reef visitor into a citizen scientist.
The measuring aesthetic and experience values using big data approaches project applied sorting models based on deep learning techniques to a database of over 13,000 tweets posted within the Great Barrier Reef area. This huge and inexpensive data set of observations, attitudes and intents could provide highly useful information to decision-makers planning for the reef’s future.
Coral damage due to dredging
Cutting-edge underwater monitoring technology has enabled researchers to develop models to help decision-makers assess the risk posed to inshore corals by port dredging.
The results and analyses in the Risk Assessing Dredging Activities in Shallow-Water Mesophotic Reefs report provided a means of assessing whether the changes in underwater light associated with dredging could have biological effects—and inform the management of dredging activity.