Reef Resilience in Townsville

Bill Dennison ·
27 March 2015
Applying Science | 

This is part three of a three part series of blog posts about developing a reef resilience index for the Great Barrier Reef at a workshop in Townsville in March 2015

Reef HQ walk through aquarium tank


Reef Resilience in Townsville
William C. Dennison

Talking with reef managers at Reef HQ1

Developing Resilience Based Management perspectives

Generating a reef health matrix

While checking out life in the aquarium

Sophie Dove

Talking with researchers2 at JCU3

Fleshing out the reef health matrix

In route to a reef resilience index

Used to better manage the GBR4

Bill Leggat

We had some workshop attrition due to health

But four guys named William5 showed up

A birthday gal named Emma6 came along

Along with folks from near and far.

We celebrated anniversaries of many entities

Emma Kennedy discussing conceptual diagram at reef resilience workshop.

The birth of the GBRF7 and Bill D.'s daughter 15 years ago

The birth of the GBRMP/A8 and Jano9 40 years ago

The birth of UMCES10 and Bill D. + Emma 90 years ago.

The GBR Foundation supported the attribute team

So they could do innovative science

Emily Saeck and Jane Thomas

Developing 6000 sensitive coral biomarkers

Using a 'confusion matrix' for automated image analysis

Assessing context-based trajectories of reef structure

Deploying calcification stations and staining crusty algae

Measuring and modeling seagrass productivity

All to better assess reef resilience

Conceptual diagram of reef resilience developed at workshop

The IAN11 team helped consolidate the results

Drawing diagrams, writing summaries and choosing images

To bring it all together and produce a trifold

Communicating science for all to see.

Pete Mumby presenting results at reef resilience workshop

The basic equations we used the following:

Resistance + Recovery = Resilience

Metabolics + Monitoring = Metrics of stress

Digital analysis + Dinner plates12 = Data on reef health

Coralline algae + Complicated calcification = Climate indicator

Seagrass + Seawater acidity = Seagrass nirvana

IAN + Indicators = Index of resilience




1 Reef HQ = Home base of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
2 Talking with researchers = Bill Leggat, Tracy Ainsworth, Maria Byrne, Will Figuera, Tom Bridge, Cath Collier, Kate O'Brien, Matthew Adams, Sophie Dove, Guillermo Diaz-Pulido, Emma Kennedy, Sonia Clause, Emily Saeck
3 JCU = James Cook University
4 GBR = Great Barrier Reef
5 Four guys named William = Bill Dennison, Bill Leggat, Will Figuera, Guillermo Diaz-Pulido
6 Emma = Emma Kennedy
7 GBRF = Great Barrier Reef Foundation
8 GBRMP = Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
9 Jano = Jane Thomas
10 UMCES = University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
11 IAN = Integration and Application Network
12 Dinner plates = calibration units deployed on the reef for autonomous camera imaging

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

Next Post > Developing an Index of Resilience to Climate Change Impacts to the Great Barrier Reef – Workshop 3, Townsville, Australia.

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