CMERC Research Projects
Restoring the 'kidneys' of the Great Barrier Reef
Seagrasses are disappearing at an alarming rate globally. In Australia, seagrass meadows are at critical levels which potentially could have disastrous outcomes for our coastal ecosystems.
That’s why CQUniversity marine science researcher Dr Emma Jackson and her seagrass restoration project team, have attracted the attention of experts around the world. Dr Jackson hopes that investigating the science of restoring seagrass beds in the Port of Gladstone, will go some way towards putting the brakes on the decline in seagrass numbers around the world, and will help restore health to the world’s coastal ecosystems.
CQUniversity’s seagrass project continues to explore ways to restore and grow seagrass meadows in the sub-tropical estuary of the Port of Gladstone. Seagrass meadows are susceptible to urbanisation, due to the fact they grow in sheltered parts of the coast and estuaries where urban development occurs. Opportunities exist to use this development to the benefit of seagrass rather than their detriment. Seagrass meadows are vital to the health of the marine ecosystem. They provide ‘ecosystem services’.
Gladstone community and the Gidarjil Development Corporation sea rangers.
This research project continues to provide insight into how seagrass meadows can be restored and grown in regions of extreme conditions. It contributes to a global body of research which hopes to restore balance to marine ecosystems around the world.
Rescuing the Reef's Reputation
Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has made headlines around the world – but what do visitors to Far North Queensland think about the news? The answer could have big implications for the future of eco-tourism in the region, and in 2015, CQUniversity researchers from the Centre for Tourism and Regional Opportunities (CTRO) embarked on a journey to find out.
Based in Cairns, CTRO director and Tourism and Marketing Discipline Lead Professor Bruce Prideaux said the forecast bleaching in 2016 and a further event in 2017 provided a unique opportunity for researchers to understand the changing landscape. “We designed a survey that captured visitors’ views on the bleaching, and enabled comparisons to be made of the pre-, during and post-event reactions,” explains Prof Prideaux.
The health of the Great Barrier Reef has huge economic importance and value to the reef tourism dependent Queensland communities of Cairns, Port Douglas and the Whitsundays. Over 18 months, CQUniversity’s Cairns Airport Survey heard from nearly 2000 visitors to the region about how global coverage of coral bleaching impacted both expectations and experience, even as coral bleaching events were occurring.
Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC), Cairns International Airport and the Cairns community.
CQUniversity’s Cairns Airport Survey results show the significance of media reporting in destination image building. The report paves the way for local tourism bodies to develop a more comprehensive media strategy designed to promote the Great Barrier Reef and local projects dedicated to preserving it, and for enhancing overall resilience of tourism and communities in the region.