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Global Marine Planning Workshop

Green Fire Science, along with other colleagues from the University of Queensland recently hosted a global marine planning workshop on Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef. The workshop brought together numerous researchers from Queensland, Tasmania, and as far as Canada to work on global problems facing marine biodiversity.

We compiled some amazing global data on the pressures humans are exerting on the marine environment, modelled distributions of over 20,000 marine species, the location and size of all marine protected areas in the world, and data from the Reef Life Survey which provides abundance and biomass for thousands of fish and invertebrate species from sites across the world.

We had four days of stimulating discussions, and conducted some preliminary analyses for many of the project ideas. Some of the potential outputs include:

  • Identifying priorities for marine protected areas to ensure all species are represented

  • Using the relationship between species ranges and the level of human pressure on marine environment to predict the threat level of species for which we have little data.

  • Finding the last truly “wild” places in the oceans – areas where human pressures are very low

  • Comparing the numerous priority templates for marine conservation to determine how they were developed and what threats they aim to combat

  • Assessing “true conservation progress” – are we protecting more marine areas than we are destroying?

Of course, we also found some time to check out the amazing marine life around Lady Elliot Island, including humpback whales, manta rays, turtles (including the endangered Hawksbill!), reef sharks and thousands of fish.

Photos: Chris Brown

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