Marine Megafauna, Australia
The main purpose of this project is to conserve globally significant populations of dugongs and sea turtles in Australia, providing adequate tools for managers to prioritize the management of turtle and dugongs in the face of climate change and to build the capacity of local communities that rely on these populations to monitor them.
Why this is important:
Populations of turtles and dugongs in Australia not only have key ecological roles but also have spiritual and cultural importance to Australian’s indigenous peoples and value to the eco-tourism industry. However, they have suffered drastic declines during the last decades and face several threats from anthropogenic activities and future climate change. Thus, resource managers and turtle and dugong rangers have expressed the need to efficiently manage these populations for future generations.
Financial support for management of marine mega-fauna is often limited; thus managers need to prioritize where to allocate their limited funds cost-efficiently to achieve the best conservation return. However, there is a lack of explicit methods to aid the prioritization of resources that considers costs, probability of success, uncertainties and benefits of various management strategies. This is the case for the management of sea turtles and dugongs in the northern Great Barrier Reef (nGBR) and Torres Strait region. The globally significant populations of sea turtles and dugongs in this region face several threats from anthropogenic activities and future climate change. Thus, managers face the challenge of addressing the direct effects of climate change, as well as ongoing threats that sea turtles and dugongs face throughout their geographic range.
For logistical, financial and political reasons, natural resource agencies cannot address all of these drivers or “threats” simultaneously; priorities must be established. Consequently, there is an urgent need for a systematic decision-theory framework that accounts for the benefits and costs of actions while incorporating the complex effects of climate change to aid the management of turtle and dugongs in the region. Indeed, Queensland Government agencies, such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Torres Strait Regional Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services, managing these populations have expressed the need for systematic tools to aid their decision making process and efficient management of turtles and dugongs. Therefore, this study was designed to provide key information to allow agencies to prioritize the allocation of limited conservation funds to achieve their management goals cost-effectively. To maximise the utility of our results to resource managers, various stakeholders will be involved in all aspects of this project; from development of approach to execution and design of deliverable tools.
Aims and Objectives
The broad aim of this project is to develop systematic priorities for management of sea turtles and dugongs to increase their resilience to climate change. More specifically the objectives are to:
- Identify and quantify current and future anthropogenic threats to turtles in the study region.
- Identify the relative contributions of feasible management actions to mitigating threats and the costs of those management actions.
- Develop a systematic decision-theory framework to prioritize management actions in the face of climate change.
- Write regional-scale protocols for implementing management actions.
- Educate and build the capacity of local communities that depend on turtle and dugongs in the region.
I spent the last few days at “Turtle Camp” in Mapoon, Cape YorK, where I was able to learn more about the on-ground activities being conducted by the Mapoon rangers. We conducted night patrols of the beach to look for…
The recent launch of Dhyum the Dugong at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns was a success! The book was well accepted by the broad community and a hit with the kids. Some of the media related to…
Please join me as I launch my new educational children’s book on dugongs. As mentioned on my previous post a key aspect of this project is to educate and build the capacity of local communities that depend on turtle and…
A key aspect of this project is to educate and build the capacity of local communities that depend on turtle and dugongs in northern Queensland and Torres Strait. To achieve this a series of activities are being undertaken, from engaging…
I recently had the opportunity to visit Mapoon, Cape York to discuss my project with the Land and Sea Committee. The purpose of the trip was to present my project and to receive feedback on whether the community was keen…