Presentation Title

An assessment of Australian coral reef health with tourism management recommendations for global climate change impacts

Abstract

Coral reefs provide numerous ecosystem services to tropical marine ecosystems and communities that use them. Their rate of degrading health is expected to increase rapidly as global climate change raises ocean temperatures (Donner et. al, 2005). 29% of all corals on the GBR were lost in the 2016 global mass bleaching event (Daley, 2018). Some of the largest projected impacts are the tourism industry— valued at $4 billion annually for the Great Barrier Reef alone (FAO, 2018; Harriott, 2004). The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) experiences over 2 million visitors each year and provides jobs for almost 50,000 people (GBR Marine Park Authority, 2020). The marine park currently utilizes a zoned management approach with restrictions on activity, and a concentrated effort on educating tourists and visitors. Recommendations for future management include raising entrance fees, increasing visitor educational programming for certain recreational activities, and distribution of accessible educational media materials for visitors.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Elizabeth Carol Adair

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Environmental Studies

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

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An assessment of Australian coral reef health with tourism management recommendations for global climate change impacts

Coral reefs provide numerous ecosystem services to tropical marine ecosystems and communities that use them. Their rate of degrading health is expected to increase rapidly as global climate change raises ocean temperatures (Donner et. al, 2005). 29% of all corals on the GBR were lost in the 2016 global mass bleaching event (Daley, 2018). Some of the largest projected impacts are the tourism industry— valued at $4 billion annually for the Great Barrier Reef alone (FAO, 2018; Harriott, 2004). The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) experiences over 2 million visitors each year and provides jobs for almost 50,000 people (GBR Marine Park Authority, 2020). The marine park currently utilizes a zoned management approach with restrictions on activity, and a concentrated effort on educating tourists and visitors. Recommendations for future management include raising entrance fees, increasing visitor educational programming for certain recreational activities, and distribution of accessible educational media materials for visitors.