CSIROThis project will establish a framework for standardised and integrated ecological, social and economic monitoring in coastal and marine areas. It will focus initially on establishing an integrated monitoring program for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA), but the aim is to develop a framework that could be adapted and applied to other coastal and marine regions in future.

This project will bring together expertise from the NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub, NERP Tropical Ecosystems Hub, NERP Environmental Decisions Hub, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to build on existing work relating to marine ecosystem health monitoring. The project will particularly draw on the knowledge and expertise of AIMS and GBRMPA to identify information needs for the GBRWHA and how to link existing monitoring programs. The Marine Biodiversity Hub is currently undertaking work on national approaches to monitoring marine ecosystem health and will provide advice on these approaches, as well as identifying how the monitoring program developed for the GBRWHA could be used as a framework for other marine regions. The Environmental Decisions Hub’s expertise will be drawn on to support prioritisation of monitoring activities and how these can be used to address key policy issues and inform adaptive management responses.

The GBRWHA is an ideal region in which to initiate this work. There are currently a number of different monitoring programs being undertaken by government, NGOs and industry in the GBRWHA, but there is minimal integration and standardisation of these programs. A methodology is required for integrating these programs and identifying critical information gaps to design an integrated monitoring framework which will inform future adaptive management.  This will also inform the strategic assessment of the GBRWHA and regional demonstration sites that will be identified as part of the ongoing work program for the strategic assessment.


The project will establish a framework for a standardised and integrated, ecological, social and economic monitoring program that:

  • Address critical information needs in the GBRWHA
  • Build upon and link existing monitoring programs in the GBRWHA, including broader long-term monitoring programs
  • Consider how to best prioritise and target monitoring activities
  • Provide a baseline  for monitoring and assessment of condition of values and affects of pressures and impacts
  • Could be adapted and applied to other marine regions to better understand cumulative impacts of development and inform adaptive management of marine and coastal ecosystems
  • Supports the development of appropriate monitoring strategies for Commonwealth offshore reserves being developed in a parallel process

Image:  Great Barrier Reef.  Image: CSIRO

Task Date: 
1 June 2012 to 30 June 2013