Program 6 'Movements and habitat use by marine apex predators'

Program 6 will have three projects designed to monitor the movements of apex predators in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park using widespread arrays of acoustic receivers installed and maintained by other funding programs (e.g. IMOS, ARC). One project will focus on the movement and habitat use of large predatory fishes (e.g. sharks and coral trout) in reef environments. New knowledge about the scale of daily and seasonal movements will establish a minimum viable size for no-take areas to offer effective protection to these mobile animals. A second project will focus on the movement and habitat use of coastal fish populations, with an emphasis on inshore shark populations. The latter are under considerable pressure from commercial netting and the study will seek to identify critical habitats (e.g. juvenile shark nurseries) that may require higher levels of protection to ensure sustainable populations. The third project will map the movements and habitat use of pelagic environments by foraging seabirds seeking an oceanographic explanation for the decline in seabird numbers observed in many breeding colonies.