CQUniversity's Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre

CQUniversity Australia’s Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) has been established to work with coastal industries and communities to develop practical and sustainable solutions for our unique coast and marine environments.

CQUniversity's Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre


CMERC is Central Queensland's only marine and coastal research centre so it's delivering research where it's needed, we've got an amazing location here in Gladstone for our base and we've got industry juxtaposed with some amazing marine habitats and we want to look at ways in which we can develop the coasts to keep those systems sustaining some of our coastal communities. The port of Gladstone is now the largest port in Queensland by export volume and it's also the fourth largest coal export terminal in the world. We have got this concentration of industry so we need a community that can work together with our local environment, and you know as I said, gateway to the southern Great Barrier Reef, it's our Great Barrier Reef as much as it is anyone's we want to make sure that the ecosystem works together in harmony with our local industry.

We have a unique approach to working with industry and our communities and we take a very holistic approach to our research as well. We're not just monitoring marine and coastal environments we're also looking for practical solutions that can benefit entire communities.

A lot of the things that the ecosystems do naturally can actually save people money and can support coastal economies. One of the key projects that we've got going on at the moment in CMERC is looking at seagrass restoration, we have Queensland’s first and only seagrass and nursery where we actually grow seagrasses and look at propagation and cultivation methods for how to grow seagrasses. So, we have seagrass meadows along the coast of Central Queensland and these seagrass meadows are really important habitats for providing food and capturing carbon, filtering out our catchments and the things the sediments and the nutrients that come down our catchments, and basically making sure that our Coral Sea and our coral reefs are healthy.

One of the key objectives of 2050 reef plan is to improve water quality, of the Great Barrier Reef region and the lagoon that comes back to the coastal margins and another one of the major objectives is to manage coastal land use in a way that is sustainable and doesn't cause continued degradation of the environment and the water that feeds into the reef system. We're looking for those sorts of solutions that allow the industry to operate, allow economies to grow, and communities to thrive while also helping the environment. One of the ways sumac goes about addressing these very large goals is to coordinate skill sets and research expertise from a wide variety of areas, so that we build complementary teams that can look at the basic biology, for example, interface that with economic considerations, interface that with engineering solutions to ultimately find solutions that help address the 2050 plan.

We do need to balance the fact that we have all these major industries here but they need a social license to operate so they need to be able to prove to not just our local community but the whole world that they're not putting any harm into our local environment, certainly not putting any harm into the Great Barrier Reef.

So CMERC actually sees humans as part of their marine ecosystem, so it recognises that human development is going to continue and that we need to look at ways in which we can work with nature and not against it. CMERC is working closely with the Gidarjil Development Corporation and local indigenous sea rangers because we recognize that there's a wealth of information traditional ecological knowledge there that we can use about the system and about what's happened in the past with the system.

We also have an amazing climate and harbor that we want people to be able to use for social activities and so if we can mesh the research around how industry fits with the general community I guess, I think we'll be one step ahead of everything. Why does one city continue to grow and spread that that research that that knowledge base right around the world. I think it just gives future generations options to say well we really are serious about making sure that we've got the economic side of things but we're looking after the environment as well.