Developing a macrobenthic monitoring programming for Port Curtis
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by D Currie
Following responses to perceived increasing pressures on the biological resources of Port Curtis, a steering committee was established in 2001 with the aim of developing a holistic ambient monitoring programme for ecosystem health in Port Curtis. Comprising representatives from Gladstone's principal industries, and representatives of EPA, CQU and coastal CRC, the committee has focused efforts on the delivery of cost-effective co-ordinated and objective assessments of environmental health. One prospective indicator of marine ecosystem health for the port, macro benthic community structure, has been integral in the development of the programme. Most survey techniques allied with this measure involve quantitative sampling of the seafloor at appropriate spatial and temporal scales, and subsequent evaluation of change in the abundance and diversity of bottom-dwelling fauna. In principle, such techniques can provide an unambiguous assessment of whether current or future human activities adversely affect ecosystem health; it is however imperative that the sampling is geared to the spatial and temporal influence of the activity. This paper reviews historical sampling of macrobenthic communities in Port Curtis and highlights inadequacies in established monitoring regimes for ecosystem health. Furthermore, this paper offers a revised sampling strategy for macrobenthos in Port Curtis that should address more comprehensively key stakeholder issues and expectations.