Catchment to Reef Research

The Catchment to Reef Research Group (CRRG) have extensive experience with water quality monitoring (total suspended solids/sediments, nitrogen and phosphorus species, pesticides, trace metals, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll-a, etc.) across various spatial scales (paddock, catchment, estuary and marine) and from the major land uses of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Catchment Area, including sugarcane, grazing, bananas, urban, industry and forested/conservation lands.

We have contributed to several GBR water quality improvement plans across all Natural Resource Management Regions of the GBR catchment area that include the production of various reports, ranging from monitoring, water quality issues, monitoring and modelling strategies and water quality risk assessment/target setting. CRRG scientists regularly collaborate with other research agencies including CSIRO, Australian Institute of Marine Science, University of Queensland, National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology and various State Government Departments.

We specialise in consensus and synthesis of water quality issues in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment Area and Lagoon. For example, CRRG staff led the preparation of the Reef Plan Scientific Consensus Statement Updates of 2008, 2013 and 2017. Many members of our team also participate in various technical committees associated with Reef water quality science and are up to date with current policy initiatives. We have also undertaken the role of Editors in several key Special Edition journal publications and are familiar with the most recent regional, national and international literature in the field of environmental science.

Research undertaken by the group includes:

  • Precision agriculture for water quality improvement
  • Pesticide Best Management Practice and practice change adoption
  • Water quality engagement and citizen science in GBR catchment industries
  • Tracing the sources of pollutants (sediments, nutrients, pesticides, microplastics, pharmaceuticals, other industrial chemicals) from different land uses (i.e. cattle grazing, sugar cane, horticulture and urban) within catchments
  • The transport and dispersal of land-based pollutants in coastal and marine environments
  • The environmental, social and economic impacts of plastic pollution
  • The quantification of pollutant loads to the GBR lagoon from end-of-catchment monitoring and coral core proxy records
  • The exposure and risk of land-based pollutants to coastal wetland, mangrove, seagrass and coral reef ecosystems
  • Modelling of ecohydrological and oceanographic processes in estuaries and the GBR
  • Effects on ecosystems of land-based pollutants
  • Management and Policy
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