Climate change may cause rethink for Ningaloo protection August 17, 2016 A new study of the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Marine Park has found that further protection may be needed to shield the reef against the impacts of climate change. Murdoch University led a collaborative study to map the most resilient sections of Ningaloo Reef. It showed that, while most of the important areas were already sufficiently protected within no-take sanctuary zones, some critical habitats were still missing out on protection. “Ningaloo Reef is the jewel in Western Australia’s natural crown but one of the biggest threats it is facing is climate change,” lead author Ms Harriet Davies said. “By ensuring the no-take sanctuary zones are protecting the most resilient areas of the reef, we would be doing the best we can to ensure Ningaloo’s survival.” The main finding of the study was that some existing sanctuary zones should be expanded to cover the deeper areas, mostly in the south of the marine park said Ms Davies, who undertook the research for her BSc Honours project at Murdoch University. The researchers used data from hyperspectral imagery, a technique that allows mapping of the depth, structural complexity and diversity of the reef. The researchers also analysed spatial habitat models and aerial survey data of human use of the reef. The research builds on previous work by Murdoch University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, which mapped the biodiversity and human use of the marine park. “We assessed how exposed different sections of the reef would be to warming temperatures and increasing human activity,” said co-author Professor Lynnath Beckley. “For example, some the least exposed areas (and thus more resilient areas) would be areas with high structural complexity, in deeper water or with more water movement, such as in reef passes”. “The results should provide valuable decision support for the next review of the Ningaloo Marine Park management plan,” said Professor Beckley. “One of the most pleasing aspects of this study was the collaboration between researchers at Murdoch University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa.” The study was published in Plos One and can be read here. Print This Post Media contact: Pepita Smyth Tel: (08) 9360 1289 | Mobile: 0417 171 551 | Email: email@example.com Categories: General, Research, Animal and plant studies, environment and bioinformatics, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences Research Tags: australian institute of marine science, climate change, harriet davies, hyperspectral imagery, lynnath beckley, nelson mandela metropolitan university, ningaloo marine park, south africa Leave a comment Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published. Thanks for commenting!