ABC News

09 January 2014

A four-year study of tiger sharks has found flaws with existing efforts to protect them.

Australian shark scientist Dr Jonathan Werry teamed up with the French government to track more than 30 sharks across the Coral Sea between New Caledonia and the Great Barrier Reef. Read more




ABC Radio Australia

11 October 2013

Australia's environmental community has gathered in Melbourne this week for the 25th anniversary of the Banksia Environmental Awards.

This year there were a record number of finalists competing for the Indigenous prize which was won by the Torres Strait Regional Authority's Land Sea Management Unit winning that, and then taking out the Banksia Gold award - beating all the other Australian and international prize winners. Read more





Media Relase

17 July 2013

Experts from around the country are gathering in Townsville today to lead discussions about the rising number of sick and dying turtles on the Great Barrier Reef.

For the past three years, there have been record numbers of turtle strandings on North Queensland beaches, highlighting concerns for the health of turtle populations right across Australia.

Dr Ellen Ariel from James Cook University said this week’s Turtle Health Forum, the only one of its kind in Australia, will unite more than 100 people from different professional and geographical backgrounds for a common cause. Read more





NERP researchers from James Cook University have undertaken the first study to track the migratory movements of non-breeding wedge-tailed shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus) from the Great Barrier Reef.

In April 2012 the team from Tropical Ecosystems Hub Project 6.3 deployed miniature ambient light sensitive geolocation devices and tracked 15 adult wedge-tailed shearwaters from the population that breeds on Heron Island in the southern GBR. Each bird was tracked for between 8-12 months.

Adults departed the breeding colony in mid to late May and migrated rapidly in a north-easterly direction, crossing the equator and travelling into the region around the Federated States of Micronesia. Individuals travelled up to 6,000 kilometres in about two weeks, at an average of speed of about 428km/day.

During the next 3-5 months, many individuals spent time foraging over and around the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest point in the world’s oceans. While there was variation among the foraging locations used by individuals, all birds spent the winter in an area spanning about 2,000 x 1,500kms with a high degree of overlap in core foraging locations.

Much of this region encompassed the Western Pacific Warm Pool, which is known globally for consistently exhibiting the warmest sea-surface temperatures. Other tube-nosed seabirds (Procellariiformes) such as Streaked shearwaters that breed in Japan also migrate to this area in their non-breeding season.

Importantly, both wedge-tailed shearwater migration routes and over-winter foraging grounds overlapped considerably with globally significant commercial purse-seine and long-line tuna fishing activity, as this region hosts part of the world’s largest tuna fishery (the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fishery) and is an area providing some of the highest commercial catch rates.

Wedge-tailed shearwaters have strong associations with sub-surface predators such as tuna as these predators drive prey to the surface where they are accessible to foraging birds. This implies that the presence of high sub-surface predator numbers in these areas is important for over-winter survival. Therefore, the overlap of wedge-tailed shearwater migration and wintering grounds with this major global fishery raises previously unidentified conservation concerns for this GBR breeding species

Fiona McDuie & Dr. Brad Congdon, JCU

For more information, contact Brad Congdon at:

Project 6.3: Critical seabird foraging locations and trophic relationships for the Great Barrier Reef



ABC 702

11 July 2013

Transcript of the interview of The Hon Mark Butler MP by Deborah Knight on ABC 702. Here Mark answers questions on the Great Barrier Reef and climate change.





After three years of applied public good research to guide and assist policy, management and decision-making in the tropical ecosystems of northeastern Australia, Hub participants will meet in Cairns in November to present their work to a diverse audience.

The Hub addresses issues of concern for the management, conservation and sustainable use of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and its catchments, tropical rainforests including the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and the terrestrial and marine assets underpinning resilient communities in the Torres Strait, through the generation and transfer of world-class research and shared knowledge. The Hub has over 240 researchers undertaking 38 projects across northern Queensland and the Torres Strait.

The total Hub investment is $61.9m, including $28.5m from National Environmental Research Program and a further institutional co-investment of $33.4m.

The key feature of the NERP research in the Tropical Ecosystems Hub is the integration of identified research users into the research projects to maximise the relevance of the research and the application of new knowledge.

Research users identified by the Tropical Ecosystems Hub include the Australian and Queensland governments through relevant Departments and also through statutory agencies such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Wet Tropics Management Authority, and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. Non-government research users include regional natural resource management (NRM) bodies, regional industry groups, conservation organisations, Indigenous communities, and the public. A wide range of these research users will participate in the conference.

The Hub conference will feature presentations in plenary to open the event followed by concurrent 90 minute sessions covering the entire Tropical Ecosystems research program in a logical sequence. Each session will be convened by a research user who has been involved in the program since its inception, and who will set the tone for a conversation with the audience after the relevant presentations.

The final day of the conference will feature topical sessions designed to look ahead and highlight knowledge gaps requiring the application of the collaborative research model. Final sessions will include crown-of-thorns starfish, Indigenous participatory models, NRM priorities, and regional tourism futures.

The emphasis of the conference will be on the application of research in meeting the immediate and ongoing challenges to environmental management in the three geographical nodes covered by the NERP. The sessions will each follow a predetermined narrative and will provide a relevant snapshot of the research undertaken. The full range of resources produced by the program will continue to build on the Tropical Ecosystems Hub website at

Keep an eye out for registration details and Conference Handbook coming in September. For more information, contact Ryan Donnelly or Johanna Johnson of the RRRC.




Gladstone Observer

01 November 2013

THE whales have just gone and now the turtles are close behind, swimming into the beaches of The Discovery Coast.

We've just seen another bumper migration of mostly humpback whales, up and then back along the Queensland coastline. Read more




Brisbane Times

09 August 2013

Green turtles are swallowing plastic at twice the rate they did 25 years ago, according to a new study.

The finding is based on data collected across the globe since the late 1980s and analysed by researchers at the University of Queensland. Read more




9 News

22 January 2014

Delighted researchers say the largest loggerhead turtle rookery in the South Pacific is bouncing back after being battered by Queensland's wild weather last year.

The Mon Repos Conservation Park on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef was devastated by floods and cyclones, which swept away an estimated 60 per cent of last year's clutches of eggs. Read more




The Guardian

30 October 2014

Two species of lizard previously unknown to science have been uncovered in a remote part of far north Queensland.

Dr Conrad Hoskin, a researcher at James Cook university, found the two species after landing by helicopter in a largely inaccessible area of rainforest on top of the Melville range, about 170km north of Cooktown. Read more