The Marine chapter of the 2021 State of the Environment (SoE) report incorporates multiple expert templates developed from streams of marine data. This metadata record describes the Expert Assessment "State and Trend of coral reefs (<30m)".
***A PDF of the full Expert Assessment, including figures and tables (where provided) is downloadable in the "On-line Resources" section of this record as "EXPERT ASSESSMENT 2021 - Coral reefs (<30m)"***
DESCRIPTION OF HABITAT/COMMUNITY/PROCESS FOR EXPERT ASSESSMENT
This assessment relates to the state and trends of coral reefs (<30m) in five bioregions: i) The Offshore Territories of Christmas and Cocos Islands, ii) North East (including the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea), iii) the North (Northern Territory), iv) North West (including the Kimberley, Pilbara and Ningaloo regions) and v) the Temperate East (including Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs). Coral reefs in the South-east and South-west regions have not been included in this assessment. Emphasis is restricted to reporting the trends in hard coral cover, as information on changes to coral diversity and assemblage structure were unavailable for most regions. Further information on the trends in other reef-associated taxa can be found in the national case study ‘Australia’s changing reefs’ and assessments for ’Oceanic Reefs’ and ‘Inner shelf (0-30 m) - reef fish species’.
DATA STREAM(S) USED IN EXPERT ASSESSMENT
Photo transects and manta tow surveys undertaken in the GBR from the Australian Institute of Marine Science monitoring programs. Photo-quadrats or -transects taken by divers in WA as part of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), the Oceans Institute, University of Western Australia, School of Molecular and Life Science, Curtin University, Bentley, WA, Australia (1990-2020) (summarized in Gilmour et al. 2019). Additional data used as a basis for this assessment come from the GBR, Coral Sea, North, NW, and Temperate East from photo quadrats taken by divers as part of the Reef Life Survey, as reported in the case study Australia’s changing reefs.
2021 SOE ASSESSMENT SUMMARY [see attached Expert Assessment for full details]
• 2021 •
Assessment grade: Poor
Assessment trend: Declining
Confidence grade: Adequate
Confidence trend: Adequate
Comparability: Grade and trend comparable to 2016 assessment
• 2016 •
Assessment grade: Poor-Good
Assessment trend: Stable -Deteriorating
Confidence grade: Adequate high quality evidence and high level of consensus
Confidence trend: Adequate high quality evidence and high level of consensus
Comparability: Grade and trend are somewhat comparable to the 2011 assessment
• 2011 •
Assessment grade: Good
Assessment trend: Stable
Confidence grade: Limited evidence or limited consensus
Confidence trend: Limited evidence or limited consensus
CHANGES SINCE 2016 SOE ASSESSMENT
The assessments are largely comparable to 2016. Declines are now occurring in the NW bioregion, however, and new data has become available to guide assessments about the Temperate East bioregion.
QUALITY OF DATA USED IN THE ASSESSMENT
High. In situ data collection or photoquadrat and manta-tow scoring by experienced researchers.
Peer reviews of this assessment were provided by:
Tom Holmes (Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Perth, WA)
Morgan Pratchett (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Townsville, QLD)