A symposium presenting the latest research, management and policy developments in coral reef systems in Australia, our region, and globally will be held at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle on 20th and 21st October 2011. The Fremantle symposium will incorporate presentations by members of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and other leading scientists and provide an insight into the future of these iconic ecosystems.
Like Queensland, Western Australia (WA) has extensive coral reefs which are of major importance to the state. Uniquely, the coral reefs of Western Australia occur over an extremely large latitudinal gradient of several thousand kilometres, from the tidally-dominated tropical reefs of the Kimberley region to the temperate sub-tropical reefs of the Houtman-Abrolhos Islands and marginal reefs offshore from Perth. The fringing reef systems along the mainly desert coastline of WA are still relatively undisturbed from land-based sources of pollution. However, they are subject to the combined impacts of global warming and ocean acidification caused by rising levels of atmospheric CO2.
The Ningaloo Reef of WA is a key study site to investigate these processes. It is Australia’s largest fringing reef system, has exceptionally high coral cover, and stretches for ~290 km along the desolate northwest coast. Nominated for World heritage listing in January 2010 the Ningaloo coast represents an area of outstanding biodiversity. Coral reef biodiversity underpins the critically important functions and services performed by reef ecosystems, such as sustaining the productivity of fish stocks on which many tropical nations depend for their food security and future development. The latest science on understanding and managing coral reef biodiversity will be a feature of the symposium program.
The coral reefs of Australia, particularly Ningaloo Reef, the Great Barrier Reef and Lord Howe Island World Heritage Area are Australian national icons, of great economic, social, and aesthetic value to this country. Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef alone contributes approximately $5 billion annually to the nation’s economy. Income from recreational and commercial fishing on Australia’s tropical reefs contributes a further $400 million annually. Consequently, science-based management of coral reefs is a national priority.
Our objectives are to:
- present the latest science which supports the sustainable management of coral reefs, in Australia, our region and globally
- focus on the research, management and policy developments on the Western Australian coral reefs
- present research on understanding the effects of global change in marine ecosystems.
Key issues will include:
- research and management of the coral reefs of Western Australia
- coral reef biodiversity
- climate change adaptation and acclimatisation
- genomics and genetics of corals
- research and management of coral reefs in the Coral Triangle
The symposium will feature presentations from leading coral reef scientists and policy makers including:
- Professor Terry Hughes FAA, Federation Fellow
- Professor Malcolm McCulloch FAA, FRS, Western Australia’s Premier’s Fellow
- Professor Bob Pressey, FAA
- Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Queensland Premier’s Fellow